Poet's Plea For Forgiveness
If I have hurt,
I am sorry.
If I have been wrong,
I am sorry.
If you could have written it better,
I am sorry.
If there might have been some other way
For me to express myself,
I am sorry.
For what am I sorry?
I am sorry
For offending the tender conscience.
I am sorry
For not being everything you thought I was.
I am sorry
That my poetry is not perfect.
I am sorry
That this poor medium is all I know
To use in self-expression.
For all these which you call wrongs,
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
- quotes about forgiveness
- quotes about poetry
- quotes about perfection
- quotes about injury
- quotes about poverty
- quotes about worry
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- quotes about hate
- quotes about independence
I'm Not Perfect
Had we met at a different time we'd be perfect for each other,
Now were spending all our time, in this world come together,
My heart is aching, from all the love your giving,
Were not faking, is this the life were living?
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
Now i'm right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
I feel right on time,
More and more we are together, tryin to discover,
I see a flicker in your eye, are you lookin for somethin better?
You once told me lying on the ground, but keep goin up and down, yo!
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
Now i'm right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
I feel right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
Now i'm right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
I feel right on time,
Why waste it thinkin about it? taste it,
Don't waste it thinkin about it, taste it,
It really doesn't matter wherever i may go,
We're tied together, that's one thing we both know, yo!
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
Now i'm right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
I feel right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
Now i'm right on time,
I'm not perfect, but i'm perfect for you,
I feel right on time,
Right on time, i feel on time tonight, i right on time, i feel right on time,
Right on time, i feel on time tonight, i right on time, i feel right on time,
Right on time, i feel on time tonight, i right on time, now i'm right on time,
Alone And Forsaken
we met in the springtime
when the blossoms unfold
the pastures green
and the meadow gold
our love was in flower
as the summer grew on
her love like the leaves
have all withered and gone
roses have faded
and there's frost at my door
the bird of the morning
wont sing anymore
the grass in the valley
has started to die
and out in the darkness
the whippoorwill cry
alone and forsaken
by fate and by man
o lord if you hear me
take hold my hand
where has she gone to
where can she be
she may have forsaken
some other like me
she promised to honor
to love and obey
each vow a plaything
she threw away
the darkness has fallen
the sky turns gray
the hound in the distance
has started to bay
i wonder i wonder
what she's thinking of
without any love
alone and forsaken
by fate and by man
o lord can you hear me
take hold my hand
alone and forsaken
by fate and by man
o lord can you hear me
take hold my hand
alone and forsaken
by fate and by man
o lord can you hear me
take hold my hand
- quotes about fate
- quotes about spring
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- quotes about honor
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- quotes about men
The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
Did I create that sky? Yes, for, if it was anything other than a conception in my mind I wouldnt have said 'Sky'-That is why I am the golden eternity. There are not two of us here, reader and writer, but one, one golden eternity, One-Which-It-Is, That-Which- Everything-Is.
The awakened Buddha to show the way, the chosen Messiah to die in the degradation of sentience, is the golden eternity. One that is what is, the golden eternity, or, God, or, Tathagata-the name. The Named One. The human God. Sentient Godhood. Animate Divine. The Deified One. The Verified One. The Free One. The Liberator. The Still One. The settled One. The Established One. Golden Eternity. All is Well. The Empty One. The Ready One. The Quitter. The Sitter. The Justified One. The Happy One.
That sky, if it was anything other than an illusion of my mortal mind I wouldnt have said 'that sky.' Thus I made that sky, I am the golden eternity. I am Mortal Golden Eternity.
I was awakened to show the way, chosen to die in the degradation of life, because I am Mortal Golden Eternity.
I am the golden eternity in mortal animate form.
Strictly speaking, there is no me, because all is emptiness. I am empty, I am non-existent. All is bliss.
This truth law has no more reality than the world.
You are the golden eternity because there is no me and no you, only one golden eternity.
The Realizer. Entertain no imaginations whatever, for the thing is a no-thing. Knowing this then is Human Godhood.
This world is the movie of what everything is, it is one movie, made of the same stuff throughout, belonging to nobody, which is what everything is.
If we were not all the golden eternity we wouldnt be here. Because we are here we cant help being pure. To tell man to be pure on account of the punishing angel that punishes the bad and the rewarding angel that rewards the good would be like telling the water 'Be Wet'-Never the less, all things depend on supreme reality, which is already established as the record of Karma earned-fate.
God is not outside us but is just us, the living and the dead, the never-lived and never-died. That we should learn it only now, is supreme reality, it was written a long time ago in the archives of universal mind, it is already done, there's no more to do.
This is the knowledge that sees the golden eternity in all things, which is us, you, me, and which is no longer us, you, me.
What name shall we give it which hath no name, the common eternal matter of the mind? If we were to call it essence, some might think it meant perfume, or gold, or honey. It is not even mind. It is not even discussible, groupable into words; it is not even endless, in fact it is not even mysterious or inscrutably inexplicable; it is what is; it is that; it is this. We could easily call the golden eternity 'This.' But 'what's in a name?' asked Shakespeare. The golden eternity by another name would be as sweet. A Tathagata, a God, a Buddha by another name, an Allah, a Sri Krishna, a Coyote, a Brahma, a Mazda, a Messiah, an Amida, an Aremedeia, a Maitreya, a Palalakonuh, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 would be as sweet. The golden eternity is X, the golden eternity is A, the golden eternity is /\, the golden eternity is O, the golden eternity is [ ], the golden eternity is t-h-e-g-o-l-d-e-n-e-t-e-r- n-i-t-y. In the beginning was the word; before the beginning, in the beginningless infinite neverendingness, was the essence. Both the word 'god' and the essence of the word, are emptiness. The form of emptiness which is emptiness having taken the form of form, is what you see and hear and feel right now, and what you taste and smell and think as you read this. Wait awhile, close your eyes, let your breathing stop three seconds or so, listen to the inside silence in the womb of the world, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, re-recognize the bliss you forgot, the emptiness and essence and ecstasy of ever having been and ever to be the golden eternity. This is the lesson you forgot.
The lesson was taught long ago in the other world systems that have naturally changed into the empty and awake, and are here now smiling in our smile and scowling in our scowl. It is only like the golden eternity pretending to be smiling and scowling to itself; like a ripple on the smooth ocean of knowing. The fate of humanity is to vanish into the golden eternity, return pouring into its hands which are not hands. The navel shall receive, invert, and take back what'd issued forth; the ring of flesh shall close; the personalities of long dead heroes are blank dirt.
The point is we're waiting, not how comfortable we are while waiting. Paleolithic man waited by caves for the realization of why he was there, and hunted; modern men wait in beautified homes and try to forget death and birth. We're waiting for the realization that this is the golden eternity.
It came on time.
There is a blessedness surely to be believed, and that is that everything abides in eternal ecstasy, now and forever.
Mother Kali eats herself back. All things but come to go. All these holy forms, unmanifest, not even forms, truebodies of blank bright ecstasy, abiding in a trance, 'in emptiness and silence' as it is pointed out in the Diamond-cutter, asked to be only what they are: GLAD.
The secret God-grin in the trees and in the teapot, in ashes and fronds, fire and brick, flesh and mental human hope. All things, far from yearning to be re-united with God, had never left themselves and here they are, Dharmakaya, the body of the truth law, the universal Thisness.
'Beyond the reach of change and fear, beyond all praise and blame,' the Lankavatara Scripture knows to say, is he who is what he is in time and time-less-ness, in ego and in ego-less-ness, in self and in self-less-ness.
Stare deep into the world before you as if it were the void: innumerable holy ghosts, buddhies, and savior gods there hide, smiling. All the atoms emitting light inside wavehood, there is no personal separation of any of it. A hummingbird can come into a house and a hawk will not: so rest and be assured. While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.
Things dont tire of going and coming. The flies end up with the delicate viands.
The cause of the world's woe is birth, The cure of the world's woe is a bent stick.
Though it is everything, strictly speaking there is no golden eternity because everything is nothing: there are no things and no goings and comings: for all is emptiness, and emptiness is these forms, emptiness is this one formhood.
All these selfnesses have already vanished. Einstein measured that this present universe is an expanding bubble, and you know what that means.
Discard such definite imaginations of phenomena as your own self, thou human being, thou'rt a numberless mass of sun-motes: each mote a shrine. The same as to your shyness of other selves, selfness as divided into infinite numbers of beings, or selfness as identified as one self existing eternally. Be obliging and noble, be generous with your time and help and possessions, and be kind, because the emptiness of this little place of flesh you carry around and call your soul, your entity, is the same emptiness in every direction of space unmeasurable emptiness, the same, one, and holy emptiness everywhere: why be selfy and unfree, Man God, in your dream? Wake up, thou'rt selfless and free. 'Even and upright your mind abides nowhere,' states Hui Neng of China. We're all in heaven now.
Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent mind. Now that we know this, throw the raft away.
Are you tightwad and are you mean, those are the true sins, and sin is only a conception of ours, due to long habit. Are you generous and are you kind, those are the true virtues, and they're only conceptions. The golden eternity rests beyond sin and virtue, is attached to neither, is attached to nothing, is unattached, because the golden eternity is Alone. The mold has rills but it is one mold. The field has curves but it is one field. All things are different forms of the same thing. I call it the golden eternity-what do you call it, brother? for the blessing and merit of virtue, and the punishment and bad fate of sin, are alike just so many words.
Sociability is a big smile, and a big smile is nothing but teeth. Rest and be kind.
There's no need to deny that evil thing called GOOGOO, which doesnt exist, just as there's no need to deny that evil thing called Sex and Rebirth, which also doesn't exist, as it is only a form of emptiness. The bead of semen comes from a long line of awakened natures that were your parent, a holy flow, a succession of saviors pouring from the womb of the dark void and back into it, fantastic magic imagination of the lightning, flash, plays, dreams, not even plays, dreams.
'The womb of exuberant fertility,' Ashvhaghosha called it, radiating forms out of its womb of exuberant emptiness. In emptiness there is no Why, no knowledge of Why, no ignorance of Why, no asking and no answering of Why, and no significance attached to this.
A disturbed and frightened man is like the golden eternity experimentally pretending at feeling the disturbed-and-frightened mood; a calm and joyous man, is like the golden eternity pretending at experimenting with that experience; a man experiencing his Sentient Being, is like the golden eternity pretending at trying that out too; a man who has no thoughts, is like the golden eternity pretending at being itself; because the emptiness of everything has no beginning and no end and at present is infinite.
'Love is all in all,' said Sainte Therese, choosing Love for her vocation and pouring out her happiness, from her garden by the gate, with a gentle smile, pouring roses on the earth, so that the beggar in the thunderbolt received of the endless offering of her dark void. Man goes a-beggaring into nothingness. 'Ignorance is the father, Habit-Energy is the Mother.' Opposites are not the same for the same reason they are the same.
The words 'atoms of dust' and 'the great universes' are only words. The idea that they imply is only an idea. The belief that we live here in this existence, divided into various beings, passing food in and out of ourselves, and casting off husks of bodies one after another with no cessation and no definite or particular discrimination, is only an idea. The seat of our Immortal Intelligence can be seen in that beating light between the eyes the Wisdom Eye of the ancients: we know what we're doing: we're not disturbed: because we're like the golden eternity pretending at playing the magic cardgame and making believe it's real, it's a big dream, a joyous ecstasy of words and ideas and flesh, an ethereal flower unfolding a folding back, a movie, an exuberant bunch of lines bounding emptiness, the womb of Avalokitesvara, a vast secret silence, springtime in the Void, happy young gods talking and drinking on a cloud. Our 32,000 chillicosms bear all the marks of excellence. Blind milky light fills our night; and the morning is crystal.
Give a gift to your brother, but there's no gift to compare with the giving of assurance that he is the golden eternity. The true understanding of this would bring tears to your eyes. The other shore is right here, forgive and forget, protect and reassure. Your tormenters will be purified. Raise thy diamond hand. Have faith and wait. The course of your days is a river rumbling over your rocky back. You're sitting at the bottom of the world with a head of iron. Religion is thy sad heart. You're the golden eternity and it must be done by you. And means one thing: Nothing-Ever-Happened. This is the golden eternity.
When the Prince of the Kalinga severed the flesh from the limbs and body of Buddha, even then the Buddha was free from any such ideas as his own self, other self, living beings divided into many selves, or living beings united and identified into one eternal self. The golden eternity isnt 'me.' Before you can know that you're dreaming you'll wake up, Atman. Had the Buddha, the Awakened One, cherished any of these imaginary judgments of and about things, he would have fallen into impatience and hatred in his suffering. Instead, like Jesus on the Cross he saw the light and died kind, loving all living things.
The world was spun out of a blade of grass: the world was spun out of a mind. Heaven was spun out of a blade of grass: heaven was spun out of a mind. Neither will do you much good, neither will do you much harm. The Oriental imperturbed, is the golden eternity.
He is called a Yogi, his is called a Priest, a Minister, a Brahmin, a Parson, a Chaplain, a Roshi, a Laoshih, a Master, a Patriarch, a Pope, a Spiritual Commissar, a Counselor, and Adviser, a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, an Old Man, a Saint, a Shaman, a Leader, who thinks nothing of himself as separate from another self, not higher nor lower, no stages and no definite attainments, no mysterious stigmata or secret holyhood, no wild dark knowledge and no venerable authoritativeness, nay a giggling sage sweeping out of the kitchen with a broom. After supper, a silent smoke. Because there is no definite teaching: the world is undisciplined. Nature endlessly in every direction inward to your body and outward into space.
Meditate outdoors. The dark trees at night are not really the dark trees at night, it's only the golden eternity.
A mosquito as big as Mount Everest is much bigger than you think: a horse's hoof is more delicate than it looks. An altar consecrated to the golden eternity, filled with roses and lotuses and diamonds, is the cell of the humble prisoner, the cell so cold and dreary. Boethius kissed the Robe of the Mother Truth in a Roman dungeon.
Do you think the emptiness of the sky will ever crumble away? Every little child knows that everybody will go to heaven. Knowing that nothing ever happened is not really knowing that nothing ever happened, it's the golden eternity. In other words, nothing can compare with telling your brother and your sister that what happened, what is happening, and what will happen, never really happened, is not really happening and never will happen, it is only the golden eternity. Nothing was ever born, nothing will ever die. Indeed, it didnt even happen that you heard about golden eternity through the accidental reading of this scripture. The thing is easily false. There are no warnings whatever issuing from the golden eternity: do what you want.
Even in dreams be kind, because anyway there is no time, no space, no mind. 'It's all not-born,' said Bankei of Japan, whose mother heard this from her son did what we call 'died happy.' And even if she had died unhappy, dying unhappy is not really dying unhappy, it's the golden eternity. It's impossible to exist, it's impossible to be persecuted, it's impossible to miss your reward.
Eight hundred and four thousand myriads of Awakened Ones throughout numberless swirls of epochs appeared to work hard to save a grain of sand, and it was only the golden eternity. And their combined reward will be no greater and no lesser than what will be won by a piece of dried turd. It's a reward beyond thought.
When you've understood this scripture, throw it away. If you cant understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom.
O everlasting Eternity, all things and all truth laws are no- things, in three ways, which is the same way: AS THINGS OF TIME they dont exist because there is no furthest atom than can be found or weighed or grasped, it is emptiness through and through, matter and empty space too. AS THINGS OF MIND they dont exist, because the mind that conceives and makes them out does so by seeing, hearing touching, smelling, tasting, and mentally-noticing and without this mind they would not be seen or heard or felt or smelled or tasted or mentally-noticed, they are discriminated that which they're not necessarily by imaginary judgments of the mind, they are actually dependent on the mind that makes them out, by themselves they are no-things, they are really mental, seen only of the mind, they are really empty visions of the mind, heaven is a vision, everything is a vision. What does it mean that I am in this endless universe thinking I'm a man sitting under the stars on the terrace of earth, but actually empty and awake throughout the emptiness and awakedness of everything? It means that I am empty and awake, knowing that I am empty and awake, and that there's no difference between me and anything else. It means that I have attained to that which everything is.
The-Attainer-To-That-Which-Every thing-Is, the Sanskrit Tathagata, has no ideas whatever but abides in essence identically with the essence of all things, which is what it is, in emptiness and silence. Imaginary meaning stretched to make mountains and as far as the germ is concerned it stretched even further to make molehills. A million souls dropped through hell but nobody saw them or counted them. A lot of large people isnt really a lot of large people, it's only the golden eternity. When St. Francis went to heaven he did not add to heaven nor detract from earth. Locate silence, possess space, spot me the ego. 'From the beginning,' said the Sixth Patriarch of the China School, 'not a thing is.'
He who loves all life with his pity and intelligence isnt really he who loves all life with his pity and intelligence, it's only natural. The universe is fully known because it is ignored. Enlightenment comes when you dont care. This is a good tree stump I'm sitting on. You cant even grasp your own pain let alone your eternal reward. I love you because you're me. I love you because there's nothing else to do. It's just the natural golden eternity.
What does it mean that those trees and mountains are magic and unreal?- It means that those trees and mountains are magic and unreal. What does it mean that those trees and mountains are not magic but real?- it means that those trees and mountains are not magic but real. Men are just making imaginary judgments both ways, and all the time it's just the same natural golden eternity.
If the golden eternity was anything other than mere words, you could not have said 'golden eternity.' This means that the words are used to point at the endless nothingness of reality. If the endless nothingness of reality was anything other than mere words, you could not have said 'endless nothingness of reality,' you could not have said it. This means that the golden eternity is out of our word-reach, it refuses steadfastly to be described, it runs away from us and leads us in. The name is not really the name. The same way, you could not have said 'this world' if this world was anything other than mere words. There's nothing there but just that. They've long known that there's nothing to life but just the living of it. It Is What It Is and That's All It Is.
There's no system of teaching and no reward for teaching the golden eternity, because nothing has happened. In the golden eternity teaching and reward havent even vanished let alone appeared. The golden eternity doesnt even have to be perfect. It is very silly of me to talk about it. I talk about it simply because here I am dreaming that I talk about it in a dream already ended, ages ago, from which I'm already awake, and it was only an empty dreaming, in fact nothing whatever, in fact nothing ever happened at all. The beauty of attaining the golden eternity is that nothing will be acquired, at last.
Kindness and sympathy, understanding and encouragement, these give: they are better than just presents and gifts: no reason in the world why not. Anyhow, be nice. Remember the golden eternity is yourself. 'If someone will simply practice kindness,' said Gotama to Subhuti, 'he will soon attain highest perfect wisdom.' Then he added: 'Kindness after all is only a word and it should be done on the spot without thought of kindness.' By practicing kindness all over with everyone you will soon come into the holy trance, infinite distinctions of personalities will become what they really mysteriously are, our common and eternal blissstuff, the pureness of everything forever, the great bright essence of mind, even and one thing everywhere the holy eternal milky love, the white light everywhere everything, emptybliss, svaha, shining, ready, and awake, the compassion in the sound of silence, the swarming myriad trillionaire you are.
Everything's alright, form is emptiness and emptiness is form, and we're here forever, in one form or another, which is empty. Everything's alright, we're not here, there, or anywhere. Everything's alright, cats sleep.
The everlasting and tranquil essence, look around and see the smiling essence everywhere. How wily was the world made, Maya, not-even-made.
There's the world in the daylight. If it was completely dark you wouldnt see it but it would still be there. If you close your eyes you really see what it's like: mysterious particle-swarming emptiness. On the moon big mosquitos of straw know this in the kindness of their hearts. Truly speaking, unrecognizably sweet it all is. Don't worry about nothing.
Imaginary judgments about things, in the Nothing-Ever-Happened wonderful void, you dont even have to reject them, let alone accept them. 'That looks like a tree, let's call it a tree,' said Coyote to Earthmaker at the beginning, and they walked around the rootdrinker patting their bellies.
Perfectly selfless, the beauty of it, the butterfly doesnt take it as a personal achievement, he just disappears through the trees. You too, kind and humble and not-even-here, it wasnt in a greedy mood that you saw the light that belongs to everybody.
Look at your little finger, the emptiness of it is no different than the emptiness of infinity.
Cats yawn because they realize that there's nothing to do.
Up in heaven you wont remember all these tricks of yours. You wont even sigh 'Why?' Whether as atomic dust or as great cities, what's the difference in all this stuff. A tree is still only a rootdrinker. The puma's twisted face continues to look at the blue sky with sightless eyes, Ah sweet divine and indescribable verdurous paradise planted in mid-air! Caitanya, it's only consciousness. Not with thoughts of your mind, but in the believing sweetness of your heart, you snap the link and open the golden door and disappear into the bright room, the everlasting ecstasy, eternal Now. Soldier, follow me! - there never was a war. Arjuna, dont fight! - why fight over nothing? Bless and sit down.
I remember that I'm supposed to be a man and consciousness and I focus my eyes and the print reappears and the words of the poor book are saying, 'The world, as God has made it' and there are no words in my pitying heart to express the knowless loveliness of the trance there was before I read those words, I had no such idea that there was a world.
This world has no marks, signs, or evidence of existence, nor the noises in it, like accident of wind or voices or heehawing animals, yet listen closely the eternal hush of silence goes on and on throughout all this, and has been gong on, and will go on and on. This is because the world is nothing but a dream and is just thought of and the everlasting eternity pays no attention to it. At night under the moon, or in a quiet room, hush now, the secret music of the Unborn goes on and on, beyond conception, awake beyond existence. Properly speaking, awake is not really awake because the golden eternity never went to sleep; you can tell by the constant sound of Silence which cuts through this world like a magic diamond through the trick of your not realizing that your mind caused the world.
The God of the American Plateau Indian was Coyote. He says: 'Earth! those beings living on your surface, none of them disappearing, will all be transformed. When I have spoken to them, when they have spoken to me, from that moment on, their words and their bodies which they usually use to move about with, will all change. I will not have heard them.'
I was smelling flowers in the yard, and when I stood up I took a deep breath and the blood all rushed to my brain and I woke up dead on my back in the grass. I had apparently fainted, or died, for about sixty seconds. My neighbor saw me but he thought I had just suddenly thrown myself on the grass to enjoy the sun. During that timeless moment of unconsciousness I saw the golden eternity. I saw heaven. In it nothing had ever happened, the events of a million years ago were just as phantom and ungraspable as the events of now, or the events of the next ten minutes. It was perfect, the golden solitude, the golden emptiness, Something-Or- Other, something surely humble. There was a rapturous ring of silence abiding perfectly. There was no question of being alive or not being alive, of likes and dislikes, of near or far, no question of giving or gratitude, no question of mercy or judgment, or of suffering or its opposite or anything. It was the womb itself, aloneness, alaya vijnana the universal store, the Great Free Treasure, the Great Victory, infinite completion, the joyful mysterious essence of Arrangement. It seemed like one smiling smile, one adorable adoration, one gracious and adorable charity, everlasting safety, refreshing afternoon, roses, infinite brilliant immaterial gold ash, the Golden Age. The 'golden' came from the sun in my eyelids, and the 'eternity' from my sudden instant realization as I woke up that I had just been where it all came from and where it was all returning, the everlasting So, and so never coming or going; therefore I call it the golden eternity but you can call it anything you want. As I regained consciousness I felt so sorry I had a body and a mind suddenly realizing I didn't even have a body and a mind and nothing had ever happened and everything is alright forever and forever and forever, O thank you thank you thank you.
This is the first teaching from the golden eternity.
The second teaching from the golden eternity is that there never was a first teaching from the golden eternity. So be sure.
So Not Perfect
Just heard a song on the radio
a girl singing about a boy
who is not less than perfect.
Got me think'n bout
how I am
so not perfect.
Course none of us like
to have that truth pointed out.
Better to be wooed
with romantic gestures
and a sweet and caring smile.
Chocolate is good, too.
Some people are crazy early.
Yeah, I know- gotta work on that.
For awhile now
it has been on my heart
to always take the time
to smell the roses.
Do you want to know a secret?
When I am alone
and I pass by flowers
on the street
or in the grocery store,
then I stop and smell the roses.
I made a decision that I never want to be
too busy to take time for that.
It is a beautiful joy of life
and one that I try to appreciate.
Too many people zip by life
and miss those little moments
that are the sweetest.
A little over a week ago
I was getting groceries one night.
I detoured to smell the many bouquets of flowers,
and honestly I was dodging that annoying guy
(the one always trying to sell me cable or something
every time I set foot in Wal-Mart) .
A young guy
about 18 or so
struck up a conversation with me
by the roses.
He spilled out his heart
about his break-up with his girl,
his dear love.
He selected the red roses
hoping to win her back.
Hoping she would forgive him.
Hoping he hadn't lost her for good.
The beautiful card
that he selected for her
and his story touched my heart.
are not perfect
and we all make mistakes.
When we are able to admit it
we get the gold star.
My Love Is Not Perfect
My love is not perfect.
It does not flawlessly sail the seven seas
It clears no mount in single bound
No epic stuff this
My love is not perfect.
Threats may not be seen
Predators may be invited unwittingly
My love is not perfect.
It is often blind to dangerous flaws
It can be the staircase of a catastrophic fall
My love is not perfect.
It can hurt unknowingly
And injure me fatally
Yet this imperfect love
Brings forth my best 'me'
Without this love
I could not be.
This imperfect love is strength
For imperfect me.
You Are Not Perfect
You are not perfect.
No matter how long you rehearse.
Nor should you give up your quest,
To do what you do and be at your best.
Do not give up that thirst.
Even when you are feeling the symptoms...
You can deliver much better.
With a worth far greater than your worse exposed.
No one knows but you what it is you can do.
And as long as you continue...
Only this to yourself,
Do you have to prove!
You are not perfect.
And if you were...
Who and how,
And 'when' would that be determined?
Now, on the other hand and for a small fee...
I will tell you 'perfection' you are!
All day if that is your wish.
In a constant feeding you need.
I will be there for you with unlimited support.
Sir Galahad, a Christmas Mystery
It is the longest night in all the year,
Near on the day when the Lord Christ was born;
Six hours ago I came and sat down here,
And ponder'd sadly, wearied and forlorn.
The winter wind that pass'd the chapel door,
Sang out a moody tune, that went right well
With mine own thoughts: I look'd down on the floor,
Between my feet, until I heard a bell
Sound a long way off through the forest deep,
And toll on steadily; a drowsiness
Came on me, so that I fell half asleep,
As I sat there not moving: less and less
I saw the melted snow that hung in beads
Upon my steel-shoes; less and less I saw
Between the tiles the bunches of small weeds:
Heartless and stupid, with no touch of awe
Upon me, half-shut eyes upon the ground,
I thought: O Galahad! the days go by,
Stop and cast up now that which you have found,
So sorely you have wrought and painfully.
Night after night your horse treads down alone
The sere damp fern, night after night you sit
Holding the bridle like a man of stone,
Dismal, unfriended: what thing comes of it?
And what if Palomydes also ride,
And over many a mountain and bare heath
Follow the questing beast with none beside?
Is he not able still to hold his breath
With thoughts of Iseult? doth he not grow pale
With weary striving, to seem best of all
To her, "as she is best," he saith? to fail
Is nothing to him, he can never fall.
For unto such a man love-sorrow is
So dear a thing unto his constant heart,
That even if he never win one kiss,
Or touch from Iseult, it will never part.
And he will never know her to be worse
Than in his happiest dreams he thinks she is:
Good knight, and faithful, you have 'scaped the curse
In wonderful-wise; you have great store of bliss.
Yea, what if Father Launcelot ride out,
Can he not think of Guenevere's arms, round
Warm and lithe, about his neck, and shout
Till all the place grows joyful with the sound?
And when he lists can often see her face,
And think, "Next month I kiss you, or next week,
And still you think of me": therefore the place
Grows very pleasant, whatsoever he seek.
But me, who ride alone, some carle shall find
Dead in my arms in the half-melted snow,
When all unkindly with the shifting wind,
The thaw comes on at Candlemas: I know
Indeed that they will say: "This Galahad
If he had lived had been a right good knight;
Ah! poor chaste body!" but they will be glad,
Not most alone, but all, when in their sight
That very evening in their scarlet sleeves
The gay-dress'd minstrels sing; no maid will talk
Of sitting on my tomb, until the leaves,
Grown big upon the bushes of the walk,
East of the Palace-pleasaunce, make it hard
To see the minster therefrom: well-a-day!
Before the trees by autumn were well bared,
I saw a damozel with gentle play,
Within that very walk say last farewell
To her dear knight, just riding out to find
(Why should I choke to say it?) the Sangreal,
And their last kisses sunk into my mind,
Yea, for she stood lean'd forward on his breast,
Rather, scarce stood; the back of one dear hand,
That it might well be kiss'd, she held and press'd
Against his lips; long time they stood there, fann'd
By gentle gusts of quiet frosty wind,
Till Mador de la porte a-going by,
And my own horsehoofs roused them; they untwined,
And parted like a dream. In this way I,
With sleepy face bent to the chapel floor,
Kept musing half asleep, till suddenly
A sharp bell rang from close beside the door,
And I leapt up when something pass'd me by,
Shrill ringing going with it, still half blind
I stagger'd after, a great sense of awe
At every step kept gathering on my mind,
Thereat I have no marvel, for I saw
One sitting on the altar as a throne,
Whose face no man could say he did not know,
And though the bell still rang, he sat alone,
With raiment half blood-red, half white as snow.
Right so I fell upon the floor and knelt,
Not as one kneels in church when mass is said,
But in a heap, quite nerveless, for I felt
The first time what a thing was perfect dread.
But mightily the gentle voice came down:
"Rise up, and look and listen, Galahad,
Good knight of God, for you will see no frown
Upon my face; I come to make you glad.
"For that you say that you are all alone,
I will be with you always, and fear not
You are uncared for, though no maiden moan
Above your empty tomb; for Launcelot,
"He in good time shall be my servant too,
Meantime, take note whose sword first made him knight,
And who has loved him alway, yea, and who
Still trusts him alway, though in all men's sight,
"He is just what you know, O Galahad,
This love is happy even as you say,
But would you for a little time be glad,
To make ME sorry long, day after day?
"Her warm arms round his neck half throttle ME,
The hot love-tears burn deep like spots of lead,
Yea, and the years pass quick: right dismally
Will Launcelot at one time hang his head;
"Yea, old and shrivell'd he shall win my love.
Poor Palomydes fretting out his soul!
Not always is he able, son, to move
His love, and do it honour: needs must roll
"The proudest destrier sometimes in the dust,
And then 'tis weary work; he strives beside
Seem better than he is, so that his trust
Is always on what chances may betide;
"And so he wears away, my servant, too,
When all these things are gone, and wretchedly
He sits and longs to moan for Iseult, who
Is no care now to Palomydes: see,
"O good son, Galahad, upon this day,
Now even, all these things are on your side,
But these you fight not for; look up, I say,
And see how I can love you, for no pride
"Closes your eyes, no vain lust keeps them down.
See now you have ME always; following
That holy vision, Galahad, go on,
Until at last you come to ME to sing
"In Heaven always, and to walk around
The garden where I am." He ceased, my face
And wretched body fell upon the ground;
And when I look'd again, the holy place
Was empty; but right so the bell again
Came to the chapel-door, there entered
Two angels first, in white, without a stain,
And scarlet wings, then, after them, a bed
Four ladies bore, and set it down beneath
The very altar-step, and while for fear
I scarcely dared to move or draw my breath,
Those holy ladies gently came a-near,
And quite unarm'd me, saying: "Galahad,
Rest here awhile and sleep, and take no thought
Of any other thing than being glad;
Hither the Sangreal will be shortly brought,
"Yet must you sleep the while it stayeth here."
Right so they went away, and I, being weary,
Slept long and dream'd of Heaven: the bell comes near,
I doubt it grows to morning. Miserere!
[Enter Two Angels in white, with scarlet wings; also, Four Ladies in gowns of red and green; also an Angel, bearing in his hands a surcoat of white, with a red cross.]
O servant of the high God, Galahad!
Rise and be arm'd: the Sangreal is gone forth
Through the great forest, and you must be had
Unto the sea that lieth on the north:
There shall you find the wondrous ship wherein
The spindles of King Solomon are laid,
And the sword that no man draweth without sin,
But if he be most pure: and there is stay'd,
Hard by, Sir Launcelot, whom you will meet
In some short space upon that ship: first, though,
Will come here presently that lady sweet,
Sister of Percival, whom you well know,
And with her Bors and Percival: stand now,
These ladies will to arm you.
[FIRST LADY, putting on the hauberk]
That I may stand so close beneath your brow,
Margaret of Antioch, am glad.
[SECOND LADY, girding him with the sword.]
That I may stand and touch you with my hand,
O Galahad, I, Cecily, am glad.
[THIRD LADY, buckling on the spurs.]
That I may kneel while up above you stand,
And gaze at me, O holy Galahad,
I, Lucy, am most glad.
[FOURTH LADY, putting on the basnet.]
O gentle knight,
That you bow down to us in reverence,
We are most glad, I, Katherine, with delight
Must needs fall trembling.
[ANGEL, putting on the crossed surcoat.]
Galahad, we go hence,
For here, amid the straying of the snow,
Come Percival's sister, Bors, and Percival.
[The Four Ladies carry out the bed, and all go but Galahad.]
How still and quiet everything seems now:
They come, too, for I hear the horsehoofs fall.
[Enter Sir Bors, Sir Percival and his Sister.]
Fair friends and gentle lady, God you save!
A many marvels have been here to-night;
Tell me what news of Launcelot you have,
And has God's body ever been in sight?
Why, as for seeing that same holy thing,
As we were riding slowly side by side,
An hour ago, we heard a sweet voice sing,
And through the bare twigs saw a great light glide,
With many-colour'd raiment, but far off;
And so pass'd quickly: from the court nought good;
Poor merry Dinadan, that with jape and scoff
Kept us all merry, in a little wood
Was found all hack'd and dead: Sir Lionel
And Gauwaine have come back from the great quest,
Just merely shamed; and Lauvaine, who loved well
Your father Launcelot, at the king's behest
Went out to seek him, but was almost slain,
Perhaps is dead now; everywhere
The knights come foil'd from the great quest, in vain;
In vain they struggle for the vision fair.
The Recluse - Book First
HOME AT GRASMERE
ONCE to the verge of yon steep barrier came
A roving school-boy; what the adventurer's age
Hath now escaped his memory--but the hour,
One of a golden summer holiday,
He well remembers, though the year be gone--
Alone and devious from afar he came;
And, with a sudden influx overpowered
At sight of this seclusion, he forgot
His haste, for hasty had his footsteps been
As boyish his pursuits; and sighing said,
'What happy fortune were it here to live!
And, if a thought of dying, if a thought
Of mortal separation, could intrude
With paradise before him, here to die!'
No Prophet was he, had not even a hope,
Scarcely a wish, but one bright pleasing thought,
A fancy in the heart of what might be
The lot of others, never could be his.
The station whence he looked was soft and green,
Not giddy yet aerial, with a depth
Of vale below, a height of hills above.
For rest of body perfect was the spot,
All that luxurious nature could desire;
But stirring to the spirit; who could gaze
And not feel motions there? He thought of clouds
That sail on winds: of breezes that delight
To play on water, or in endless chase
Pursue each other through the yielding plain
Of grass or corn, over and through and through,
In billow after billow, evermore
Disporting--nor unmindful was the boy
Of sunbeams, shadows, butterflies and birds;
Of fluttering sylphs and softly-gliding Fays,
Genii, and winged angels that are Lords
Without restraint of all which they behold.
The illusion strengthening as he gazed, he felt
That such unfettered liberty was his,
Such power and joy; but only for this end,
To flit from field to rock, from rock to field,
From shore to island, and from isle to shore,
From open ground to covert, from a bed
Of meadow-flowers into a tuft of wood;
From high to low, from low to high, yet still
Within the bound of this huge concave; here
Must be his home, this valley be his world.
Since that day forth the Place to him--'to me'
(For I who live to register the truth
Was that same young and happy Being) became
As beautiful to thought, as it had been
When present, to the bodily sense; a haunt
Of pure affections, shedding upon joy
A brighter joy; and through such damp and gloom
Of the gay mind, as ofttimes splenetic youth
Mistakes for sorrow, darting beams of light
That no self-cherished sadness could withstand;
And now 'tis mine, perchance for life, dear Vale,
Beloved Grasmere (let the wandering streams
Take up, the cloud-capt hills repeat, the Name)
One of thy lowly Dwellings is my Home.
And was the cost so great? and could it seem
An act of courage, and the thing itself
A conquest? who must bear the blame? Sage man
Thy prudence, thy experience, thy desires,
Thy apprehensions--blush thou for them all.
Yes the realities of life so cold,
So cowardly, so ready to betray,
So stinted in the measure of their grace
As we pronounce them, doing them much wrong,
Have been to me more bountiful than hope,
Less timid than desire--but that is past.
On Nature's invitation do I come,
By Reason sanctioned. Can the choice mislead,
That made the calmest fairest spot of earth
With all its unappropriated good
My own; and not mine only, for with me
Entrenched, say rather peacefully embowered,
Under yon orchard, in yon humble cot,
A younger Orphan of a home extinct,
The only Daughter of my Parents dwells.
Ay, think on that, my heart, and cease to stir,
Pause upon that and let the breathing frame
No longer breathe, but all be satisfied.
--Oh, if such silence be not thanks to God
For what hath been bestowed, then where, where then
Shall gratitude find rest? Mine eyes did ne'er
Fix on a lovely object, nor my mind
Take pleasure in the midst of happy thoughts,
But either She whom now I have, who now
Divides with me this loved abode, was there,
Or not far off. Where'er my footsteps turned,
Her voice was like a hidden Bird that sang,
The thought of her was like a flash of light,
Or an unseen companionship, a breath
Of fragrance independent of the Wind.
In all my goings, in the new and old
Of all my meditations, and in this
Favourite of all, in this the most of all.
--What being, therefore, since the birth of Man
Had ever more abundant cause to speak
Thanks, and if favours of the Heavenly Muse
Make him more thankful, then to call on Verse
To aid him and in song resound his joy?
The boon is absolute; surpassing grace
To me hath been vouchsafed; among the bowers
Of blissful Eden this was neither given
Nor could be given, possession of the good
Which had been sighed for, ancient thought fulfilled,
And dear Imaginations realised,
Up to their highest measure, yea and more.
Embrace me then, ye Hills, and close me in;
Now in the clear and open day I feel
Your guardianship; I take it to my heart;
'Tis like the solemn shelter of the night.
But I would call thee beautiful, for mild,
And soft, and gay, and beautiful thou art
Dear Valley, having in thy face a smile
Though peaceful, full of gladness. Thou art pleased,
Pleased with thy crags and woody steeps, thy Lake,
Its one green island and its winding shores;
The multitude of little rocky hills,
Thy Church and cottages of mountain stone
Clustered like stars some few, but single most,
And lurking dimly in their shy retreats,
Or glancing at each other cheerful looks
Like separated stars with clouds between.
What want we? have we not perpetual streams,
Warm woods, and sunny hills, and fresh green fields,
And mountains not less green, and flocks and herds,
And thickets full of songsters, and the voice
Of lordly birds, an unexpected sound
Heard now and then from morn to latest eve,
Admonishing the man who walks below
Of solitude and silence in the sky?
These have we, and a thousand nooks of earth
Have also these, but nowhere else is found,
Nowhere (or is it fancy?) can be found
The one sensation that is here; 'tis here,
Here as it found its way into my heart
In childhood, here as it abides by day,
By night, here only; or in chosen minds
That take it with them hence, where'er they go.
--'Tis, but I cannot name it, 'tis the sense
Of majesty, and beauty, and repose,
A blended holiness of earth and sky,
Something that makes this individual spot,
This small abiding-place of many men,
A termination, and a last retreat,
A centre, come from wheresoe'er you will,
A whole without dependence or defect,
Made for itself, and happy in itself,
Perfect contentment, Unity entire.
Bleak season was it, turbulent and bleak,
When hitherward we journeyed side by side
Through burst of sunshine and through flying showers;
Paced the long vales--how long they were--and yet
How fast that length of way was left behind,
Wensley's rich Vale, and Sedbergh's naked heights.
The frosty wind, as if to make amends
For its keen breath, was aiding to our steps,
And drove us onward like two ships at sea,
Or like two birds, companions in mid-air,
Parted and reunited by the blast.
Stern was the face of nature; we rejoiced
In that stern countenance, for our souls thence drew
A feeling of their strength. The naked trees,
The icy brooks, as on we passed, appeared
To question us. 'Whence come ye, to what end?'
They seemed to say, 'What would ye,' said the shower,
'Wild Wanderers, whither through my dark domain?'
The sunbeam said, 'Be happy.' When this vale
We entered, bright and solemn was the sky
That faced us with a passionate welcoming,
And led us to our threshold. Daylight failed
Insensibly, and round us gently fell
Composing darkness, with a quiet load
Of full contentment, in a little shed
Disturbed, uneasy in itself as seemed,
And wondering at its new inhabitants.
It loves us now, this Vale so beautiful
Begins to love us! by a sullen storm,
Two months unwearied of severest storm,
It put the temper of our minds to proof,
And found us faithful through the gloom, and heard
The poet mutter his prelusive songs
With cheerful heart, an unknown voice of joy
Among the silence of the woods and hills;
Silent to any gladsomeness of sound
With all their shepherds.
But the gates of Spring
Are opened; churlish winter hath given leave
That she should entertain for this one day,
Perhaps for many genial days to come,
His guests, and make them jocund.--They are pleased,
But most of all the birds that haunt the flood
With the mild summons; inmates though they be
Of Winter's household, they keep festival
This day, who drooped, or seemed to droop, so long;
They show their pleasure, and shall I do less?
Happier of happy though I be, like them
I cannot take possession of the sky,
Mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there
One of a mighty multitude, whose way
Is a perpetual harmony and dance
Magnificent. Behold how with a grace
Of ceaseless motion, that might scarcely seem
Inferior to angelical, they prolong
Their curious pastime, shaping in mid-air,
And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops,
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain;--but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
Upwards and downwards; progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight. 'Tis done,
Ten times and more I fancied it had ceased,
But lo! the vanished company again
Ascending, they approach. I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound
Passed in a moment--and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport among their plumes;
Tempt the smooth water, or the gleaming ice,
To show them a fair image,--'tis themselves,
Their own fair forms upon the glimmering plain
Painted more soft and fair as they descend,
Almost to touch,--then up again aloft,
Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest!
--This day is a thanksgiving, 'tis a day
Of glad emotion and deep quietness;
Not upon me alone hath been bestowed,
Me rich in many onward-looking thoughts,
The penetrating bliss; oh surely these
Have felt it, not the happy choirs of spring,
Her own peculiar family of love
That sport among green leaves, a blither train!
But two are missing, two, a lonely pair
Of milk-white Swans; wherefore are they not seen
Partaking this day's pleasure? From afar
They came, to sojourn here in solitude,
Choosing this Valley, they who had the choice
Of the whole world. We saw them day by day,
Through those two months of unrelenting storm,
Conspicuous at the centre of the Lake
Their safe retreat, we knew them well, I guess
That the whole valley knew them; but to us
They were more dear than may be well believed,
Not only for their beauty, and their still
And placid way of life, and constant love
Inseparable, not for these alone,
But that 'their' state so much resembled ours,
They having also chosen this abode;
They strangers, and we strangers, they a pair,
And we a solitary pair like them.
They should not have departed; many days
Did I look forth in vain, nor on the wing
Could see them, nor in that small open space
Of blue unfrozen water, where they lodged
And lived so long in quiet, side by side.
Shall we behold them consecrated friends,
Faithful companions, yet another year
Surviving, they for us, and we for them,
And neither pair be broken? nay perchance
It is too late already for such hope;
The Dalesmen may have aimed the deadly tube,
And parted them; or haply both are gone
One death, and that were mercy given to both.
Recall, my song, the ungenerous thought; forgive,
Thrice favoured Region, the conjecture harsh
Of such inhospitable penalty
Inflicted upon confidence so pure.
Ah! if I wished to follow where the sight
Of all that is before my eyes, the voice
Which speaks from a presiding spirit here,
Would lead me, I should whisper to myself:
They who are dwellers in this holy place
Must needs themselves be hallowed, they require
No benediction from the stranger's lips,
For they are blessed already; none would give
The greeting 'peace be with you' unto them,
For peace they have; it cannot but be theirs,
And mercy, and forbearance--nay--not these--
'Their' healing offices a pure good-will
Precludes, and charity beyond the bounds
Of charity--an overflowing love;
Not for the creature only, but for all
That is around them; love for everything
Which in their happy Region they behold!
Thus do we soothe ourselves, and when the thought
Is passed, we blame it not for having come.
--What if I floated down a pleasant stream,
And now am landed, and the motion gone,
Shall I reprove myself? Ah no, the stream
Is flowing, and will never cease to flow,
And I shall float upon that stream again.
By such forgetfulness the soul becomes,
Words cannot say how beautiful: then hail,
Hail to the visible Presence, hail to thee,
Delightful Valley, habitation fair!
And to whatever else of outward form
Can give an inward help, can purify,
And elevate, and harmonise, and soothe,
And steal away, and for a while deceive
And lap in pleasing rest, and bear us on
Without desire in full complacency,
Contemplating perfection absolute,
And entertained as in a placid sleep.
But not betrayed by tenderness of mind
That feared, or wholly overlooked the truth,
Did we come hither, with romantic hope
To find in midst of so much loveliness
Love, perfect love: of so much majesty
A like majestic-frame of mind in those
Who here abide, the persons like the place.
Not from such hope, or aught of such belief,
Hath issued any portion of the joy
Which I have felt this day. An awful voice
'Tis true hath in my walks been often heard,
Sent from the mountains or the sheltered fields,
Shout after shout--reiterated whoop,
In manner of a bird that takes delight
In answering to itself: or like a hound
Single at chase among the lonely woods,
His yell repeating; yet it was in truth
A human voice--a spirit of coming night;
How solemn when the sky is dark, and earth
Not dark, nor yet enlightened, but by snow
Made visible, amid a noise of winds
And bleatings manifold of mountain sheep,
Which in that iteration recognise
Their summons, and are gathering round for food,
Devoured with keenness, ere to grove or bank
Or rocky bield with patience they retire.
That very voice, which, in some timid mood
Of superstitious fancy, might have seemed
Awful as ever stray demoniac uttered,
His steps to govern in the wilderness;
Or as the Norman Curfew's regular beat
To hearths when first they darkened at the knell:
That shepherd's voice, it may have reached mine ear
Debased and under profanation, made
The ready organ of articulate sounds
From ribaldry, impiety, or wrath,
Issuing when shame hath ceased to check the brawls
Of some abused Festivity--so be it.
I came not dreaming of unruffled life,
Untainted manners; born among the hills,
Bred also there, I wanted not a scale
To regulate my hopes; pleased with the good
I shrink not from the evil with disgust,
Or with immoderate pain. I look for Man,
The common creature of the brotherhood,
Differing but little from the Man elsewhere,
For selfishness and envy and revenge,
Ill neighbourhood--pity that this should be--
Flattery and double-dealing, strife and wrong.
Yet is it something gained, it is in truth
A mighty gain, that Labour here preserves
His rosy face, a servant only here
Of the fireside or of the open field,
A Freeman therefore sound and unimpaired:
That extreme penury is here unknown,
And cold and hunger's abject wretchedness
Mortal to body and the heaven-born mind:
That they who want are not too great a weight
For those who can relieve; here may the heart
Breathe in the air of fellow-suffering
Dreadless, as in a kind of fresher breeze
Of her own native element, the hand
Be ready and unwearied without plea,
From tasks too frequent or beyond its power,
For languor or indifference or despair.
And as these lofty barriers break the force
Of winds,--this deep Vale, as it doth in part
Conceal us from the storm, so here abides
A power and a protection for the mind,
Dispensed indeed to other solitudes
Favoured by noble privilege like this,
Where kindred independence of estate
Is prevalent, where he who tills the field,
He, happy man! is master of the field,
And treads the mountains which his Fathers trod.
Not less than halfway up yon mountain's side,
Behold a dusky spot, a grove of Firs
That seems still smaller than it is; this grove
Is haunted--by what ghost? a gentle spirit
Of memory faithful to the call of love;
For, as reports the Dame, whose fire sends up
Yon curling smoke from the grey cot below,
The trees (her first-born child being then a babe)
Were planted by her husband and herself,
That ranging o'er the high and houseless ground
Their sheep might neither want from perilous storm
Of winter, nor from summer's sultry heat,
A friendly covert; 'and they knew it well,'
Said she, 'for thither as the trees grew up
We to the patient creatures carried food
In times of heavy snow.' She then began
In fond obedience to her private thoughts
To speak of her dead husband; is there not
An art, a music, and a strain of words
That shall be life, the acknowledged voice of life,
Shall speak of what is done among the fields,
Done truly there, or felt, of solid good
And real evil, yet be sweet withal,
More grateful, more harmonious than the breath,
The idle breath of softest pipe attuned
To pastoral fancies? Is there such a stream
Pure and unsullied flowing from the heart
With motions of true dignity and grace?
Or must we seek that stream where Man is not?
Methinks I could repeat in tuneful verse,
Delicious as the gentlest breeze that sounds
Through that aerial fir-grove--could preserve
Some portion of its human history
As gathered from the Matron's lips, and tell
Of tears that have been shed at sight of it,
And moving dialogues between this Pair
Who in their prime of wedlock, with joint hands
Did plant the grove, now flourishing, while they
No longer flourish, he entirely gone,
She withering in her loneliness. Be this
A task above my skill--the silent mind
Has her own treasures, and I think of these,
Love what I see, and honour humankind.
No, we are not alone, we do not stand,
My sister here misplaced and desolate,
Loving what no one cares for but ourselves,
We shall not scatter through the plains and rocks
Of this fair Vale, and o'er its spacious heights,
Unprofitable kindliness, bestowed
On objects unaccustomed to the gifts
Of feeling, which were cheerless and forlorn
But few weeks past, and would be so again
Were we not here; we do not tend a lamp
Whose lustre we alone participate,
Which shines dependent upon us alone,
Mortal though bright, a dying, dying flame.
Look where we will, some human hand has been
Before us with its offering; not a tree
Sprinkles these little pastures, but the same
Hath furnished matter for a thought; perchance
For some one serves as a familiar friend.
Joy spreads, and sorrow spreads; and this whole Vale,
Home of untutored shepherds as it is,
Swarms with sensation, as with gleams of sunshine,
Shadows or breezes, scents or sounds. Nor deem
These feelings, though subservient more than ours
To every day's demand for daily bread,
And borrowing more their spirit and their shape
From self-respecting interests; deem them not
Unworthy therefore, and unhallowed--no,
They lift the animal being, do themselves
By nature's kind and ever-present aid
Refine the selfishness from which they spring,
Redeem by love the individual sense
Of anxiousness, with which they are combined.
And thus it is that fitly they become
Associates in the joy of purest minds:
They blend therewith congenially: meanwhile
Calmly they breathe their own undying life
Through this their mountain sanctuary; long
Oh long may it remain inviolate,
Diffusing health and sober cheerfulness,
And giving to the moments as they pass
Their little boons of animating thought
That sweeten labour, make it seen and felt
To be no arbitrary weight imposed,
But a glad function natural to man.
Fair proof of this, newcomer though I be,
Already have I gained; the inward frame,
Though slowly opening, opens every day
With process not unlike to that which cheers
A pensive stranger journeying at his leisure
Through some Helvetian Dell; when low-hung mists
Break up and are beginning to recede;
How pleased he is where thin and thinner grows
The veil, or where it parts at once, to spy
The dark pines thrusting forth their spiky heads;
To watch the spreading lawns with cattle grazed;
Then to be greeted by the scattered huts
As they shine out; and 'see' the streams whose murmur
Had soothed his ear while 'they' were hidden; how pleased
To have about him which way e'er he goes
Something on every side concealed from view,
In every quarter something visible
Half seen or wholly, lost and found again,
Alternate progress and impediment,
And yet a growing prospect in the main.
Such pleasure now is mine, albeit forced,
Herein less happy than the Traveller,
To cast from time to time a painful look
Upon unwelcome things which unawares
Reveal themselves, not therefore is my heart
Depressed, nor does it fear what is to come;
But confident, enriched at every glance,
The more I see the more delight my mind
Receives, or by reflection can create:
Truth justifies herself, and as she dwells
With Hope, who would not follow where she leads?
Nor let me pass unheeded other loves
Where no fear is, and humbler sympathies.
Already hath sprung up within my heart
A liking for the small grey horse that bears
The paralytic man, and for the brute
In Scripture sanctified--the patient brute
On which the cripple, in the quarry maimed,
Rides to and fro: I know them and their ways.
The famous sheep-dog, first in all the vale,
Though yet to me a stranger, will not be
A stranger long; nor will the blind man's guide,
Meek and neglected thing, of no renown!
Soon will peep forth the primrose, ere it fades
Friends shall I have at dawn, blackbird and thrush
To rouse me, and a hundred warblers more!
And if those Eagles to their ancient hold
Return, Helvellyn's Eagles! with the Pair
From my own door I shall be free to claim
Acquaintance, as they sweep from cloud to cloud.
The owl that gives the name to Owlet-Crag
Have I heard whooping, and he soon will be
A chosen one of my regards. See there
The heifer in yon little croft belongs
To one who holds it dear; with duteous care
She reared it, and in speaking of her charge
I heard her scatter some endearing words
Domestic, and in spirit motherly,
She being herself a mother; happy Beast,
If the caresses of a human voice
Can make it so, and care of human hands.
And ye as happy under Nature's care,
Strangers to me and all men, or at least
Strangers to all particular amity,
All intercourse of knowledge or of love
That parts the individual from his kind.
Whether in large communities ye keep
From year to year, not shunning man's abode,
A settled residence, or be from far
Wild creatures, and of many homes, that come
The gift of winds, and whom the winds again
Take from us at your pleasure; yet shall ye
Not want for this your own subordinate place
In my affections. Witness the delight
With which erewhile I saw that multitude
Wheel through the sky, and see them now at rest,
Yet not at rest upon the glassy lake:
They 'cannot' rest--they gambol like young whelps;
Active as lambs, and overcome with joy
They try all frolic motions; flutter, plunge,
And beat the passive water with their wings.
Too distant are they for plain view, but lo!
Those little fountains, sparkling in the sun,
Betray their occupation, rising up
First one and then another silver spout,
As one or other takes the fit of glee,
Fountains and spouts, yet somewhat in the guise
Of plaything fireworks, that on festal nights
Sparkle about the feet of wanton boys.
--How vast the compass of this theatre,
Yet nothing to be seen but lovely pomp
And silent majesty; the birch-tree woods
Are hung with thousand thousand diamond drops
Of melted hoar-frost, every tiny knot
In the bare twigs, each little budding-place
Cased with its several beads; what myriads these
Upon one tree, while all the distant grove,
That rises to the summit of the steep,
Shows like a mountain built of silver light:
See yonder the same pageant, and again
Behold the universal imagery
Inverted, all its sun-bright features touched
As with the varnish and the gloss of dreams.
Dreamlike the blending also of the whole
Harmonious landscape: all along the shore
The boundary lost--the line invisible
That parts the image from reality;
And the clear hills, as high as they ascend
Heavenward, so deep piercing the lake below.
Admonished of the days of love to come
The raven croaks, and fills the upper air
With a strange sound of genial harmony;
And in and all about that playful band,
Incapable although they be of rest,
And in their fashion very rioters,
There is a stillness, and they seem to make
Calm revelry in that their calm abode.
Them leaving to their joyous hours I pass,
Pass with a thought the life of the whole year
That is to come: the throng of woodland flowers
And lilies that will dance upon the waves.
Say boldly then that solitude is not
Where these things are: he truly is alone,
He of the multitude whose eyes are doomed
To hold a vacant commerce day by day
With Objects wanting life--repelling love;
He by the vast metropolis immured,
Where pity shrinks from unremitting calls,
Where numbers overwhelm humanity,
And neighbourhood serves rather to divide
Than to unite--what sighs more deep than his,
Whose nobler will hath long been sacrificed;
Who must inhabit under a black sky
A city, where, if indifference to disgust
Yield not to scorn or sorrow, living men
Are ofttimes to their fellow-men no more
Than to the forest Hermit are the leaves
That hang aloft in myriads; nay, far less,
For they protect his walk from sun and shower,
Swell his devotion with their voice in storms,
And whisper while the stars twinkle among them
His lullaby. From crowded streets remote,
Far from the living and dead Wilderness
Of the thronged world, Society is here
A true community--a genuine frame
Of many into one incorporate.
'That' must be looked for here: paternal sway,
One household, under God, for high and low,
One family and one mansion; to themselves
Appropriate, and divided from the world,
As if it were a cave, a multitude
Human and brute, possessors undisturbed
Of this Recess--their legislative Hall,
Their Temple, and their glorious Dwelling-place.
Dismissing therefore all Arcadian dreams,
All golden fancies of the golden age,
The bright array of shadowy thoughts from times
That were before all time, or are to be
Ere time expire, the pageantry that stirs
Or will be stirring, when our eyes are fixed
On lovely objects, and we wish to part
With all remembrance of a jarring world,
--Take we at once this one sufficient hope,
What need of more? that we shall neither droop
Nor pine for want of pleasure in the life
Scattered about us, nor through want of aught
That keeps in health the insatiable mind.
--That we shall have for knowledge and for love
Abundance, and that feeling as we do
How goodly, how exceeding fair, how pure
From all reproach is yon ethereal vault,
And this deep Vale, its earthly counterpart,
By which and under which we are enclosed
To breathe in peace; we shall moreover find
(If sound, and what we ought to be ourselves,
If rightly we observe and justly weigh)
The inmates not unworthy of their home,
The Dwellers of their Dwelling.
And if this
Were otherwise, we have within ourselves
Enough to fill the present day with joy,
And overspread the future years with hope,
Our beautiful and quiet home, enriched
Already with a stranger whom we love
Deeply, a stranger of our Father's house,
A never-resting Pilgrim of the Sea,
Who finds at last an hour to his content
Beneath our roof. And others whom we love
Will seek us also, Sisters of our hearts,
And one, like them, a Brother of our hearts,
Philosopher and Poet, in whose sight
These mountains will rejoice with open joy.
--Such is our wealth! O Vale of Peace we are
And must be, with God's will, a happy Band.
Yet 'tis not to enjoy that we exist,
For that end only; something must be done:
I must not walk in unreproved delight
These narrow bounds, and think of nothing more,
No duty that looks further, and no care.
Each Being has his office, lowly some
And common, yet all worthy if fulfilled
With zeal, acknowledgment that with the gift
Keeps pace a harvest answering to the seed.
Of ill-advised Ambition and of Pride
I would stand clear, but yet to me I feel
That an internal brightness is vouchsafed
That must not die, that must not pass away.
Why does this inward lustre fondly seek
And gladly blend with outward fellowship?
Why do 'they' shine around me whom I love?
Why do they teach me, whom I thus revere?
Strange question, yet it answers not itself.
That humble Roof embowered among the trees,
That calm fireside, it is not even in them,
Blest as they are, to furnish a reply
That satisfies and ends in perfect rest.
Possessions have I that are solely mine,
Something within which yet is shared by none,
Not even the nearest to me and most dear,
Something which power and effort may impart;
I would impart it, I would spread it wide:
Immortal in the world which is to come--
Forgive me if I add another claim--
And would not wholly perish even in this,
Lie down and be forgotten in the dust,
I and the modest Partners of my days
Making a silent company in death;
Love, knowledge, all my manifold delights,
All buried with me without monument
Or profit unto any but ourselves!
It must not be, if I, divinely taught,
Be privileged to speak as I have felt
Of what in man is human or divine.
While yet an innocent little one, with a heart
That doubtless wanted not its tender moods,
I breathed (for this I better recollect)
Among wild appetites and blind desires,
Motions of savage instinct my delight
And exaltation. Nothing at that time
So welcome, no temptation half so dear
As that which urged me to a daring feat,
Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags,
And tottering towers: I loved to stand and read
Their looks forbidding, read and disobey,
Sometimes in act and evermore in thought.
With impulses, that scarcely were by these
Surpassed in strength, I heard of danger met
Or sought with courage; enterprise forlorn
By one, sole keeper of his own intent,
Or by a resolute few, who for the sake
Of glory fronted multitudes in arms.
Yea, to this hour I cannot read a Tale
Of two brave vessels matched in deadly fight,
And fighting to the death, but I am pleased
More than a wise man ought to be; I wish,
Fret, burn, and struggle, and in soul am there.
But me hath Nature tamed, and bade to seek
For other agitations, or be calm;
Hath dealt with me as with a turbulent stream,
Some nursling of the mountains which she leads
Through quiet meadows, after he has learnt
His strength, and had his triumph and his joy,
His desperate course of tumult and of glee.
That which in stealth by Nature was performed
Hath Reason sanctioned: her deliberate Voice
Hath said; be mild, and cleave to gentle things,
Thy glory and thy happiness be there.
Nor fear, though thou confide in me, a want
Of aspirations that have been--of foes
To wrestle with, and victory to complete,
Bounds to be leapt, darkness to be explored;
All that inflamed thy infant heart, the love,
The longing, the contempt, the undaunted quest,
All shall survive, though changed their office, all
Shall live, it is not in their power to die.
Then farewell to the Warrior's Schemes, farewell
The forwardness of soul which looks that way
Upon a less incitement than the Cause
Of Liberty endangered, and farewell
That other hope, long mine, the hope to fill
The heroic trumpet with the Muse's breath!
Yet in this peaceful Vale we will not spend
Unheard-of days, though loving peaceful thought,
A voice shall speak, and what will be the theme?
On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life,
Musing in solitude, I oft perceive
Fair trains of imagery before me rise,
Accompanied by feelings of delight
Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed;
And I am conscious of affecting thoughts
And dear remembrances, whose presence soothes
Or elevates the Mind, intent to weigh
The good and evil of our mortal state.
--To these emotions, whencesoe'er they come,
Whether from breath of outward circumstance,
Or from the Soul--an impulse to herself--
I would give utterance in numerous verse.
Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love, and Hope,
And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith;
Of blessed consolations in distress;
Of moral strength, and intellectual Power;
Of joy in widest commonalty spread;
Of the individual Mind that keeps her own
Inviolate retirement, subject there
To Conscience only, and the law supreme
Of that Intelligence which governs all--
I sing:--'fit audience let me find though few!'
So prayed, more gaining than he asked, the Bard--
In holiest mood. Urania, I shall need
Thy guidance, or a greater Muse, if such
Descend to earth or dwell in highest heaven!
For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink
Deep--and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds
To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil.
All strength--all terror, single or in bands,
That ever was put forth in personal form--
Jehovah--with his thunder, and the choir
Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thrones--
I pass them unalarmed. Not Chaos, not
The darkest pit of lowest Erebus,
Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out
By help of dreams--can breed such fear and awe
As fall upon us often when we look
Into our Minds, into the Mind of Man--
My haunt, and the main region of my song
--Beauty--a living Presence of the earth,
Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms
Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
From earth's materials--waits upon my steps;
Pitches her tents before me as I move,
An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves
Elysian, Fortunate Fields--like those of old
Sought in the Atlantic Main--why should they be
A history only of departed things,
Or a mere fiction of what never was?
For the discerning intellect of Man,
When wedded to this goodly universe
In love and holy passion, shall find these
A simple produce of the common day.
--I, long before the blissful hour arrives,
Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse
Of this great consummation:--and, by words
Which speak of nothing more than what we are,
Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep
Of Death, and win the vacant and the vain
To noble raptures; while my voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted:--and how exquisitely, too--
Theme this but little heard of among men--
The external World is fitted to the Mind;
And the creation (by no lower name
Can it be called) which they with blended might
Accomplish:--this is our high argument.
--Such grateful haunts foregoing, if I oft
Must turn elsewhere--to travel near the tribes
And fellowships of men, and see ill sights
Of madding passions mutually inflamed;
Must hear Humanity in fields and groves
Pipe solitary anguish; or must hang
Brooding above the fierce confederate storm
Of sorrow, barricadoed evermore
Within the walls of cities--may these sounds
Have their authentic comment; that even these
Hearing, I be not downcast or forlorn!--
Descend, prophetic Spirit! that inspir'st
The human Soul of universal earth,
Dreaming on things to come; and dost possess
A metropolitan temple in the hearts
Of mighty Poets; upon me bestow
A gift of genuine insight; that my Song
With star-like virtue in its place may shine,
Shedding benignant influence, and secure
Itself from all malevolent effect
Of those mutations that extend their sway
Throughout the nether sphere!--And if with this
I mix more lowly matter; with the thing
Contemplated, describe the Mind and Man
Contemplating; and who, and what he was--
The transitory Being that beheld
This Vision;--when and where, and how he lived;
Be not this labour useless. If such theme
May sort with highest objects, then--dread Power!
Whose gracious favour is the primal source
Of all illumination--may my Life
Express the image of a better time,
More wise desires, and simpler manners;--nurse
My Heart in genuine freedom:--all pure thoughts
Be with me;--so shall thy unfailing love
Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end!
I Am Not Perfect
I Am Not Perfect, I feel it is better that you never know
How deeply I did love you.
It is better that life remains incomplete
Since, in your view I appear to be unfaithful
What can I say?
I guess I am not perfect enough
People will laugh off at the things which I may say
Although, love is love
Honestly, it cannot be defined
Let me be alone and die alone
I deserve to be.
I Had A Poem/But It Was Not Perfect
I HAD A POEM/ BUT IT WAS NOT PERFECT
I had a poem
But it was not perfect
I corrected it
And lost it
I corrected it again
And lost it again
I lost it and lost it
And corrected it and corrected it.
Finally it was a poem sort of
But not the poem I began with
And not the poem I wanted
And not the poem I loved
It was a poem
Which made the best of what was
When it knew
At its beginning
There was something better.
Not A Masterpiece For The Kids
I build my masterpiece
Retched and rotten
I sat on the ground for to long
Now its all wrong
So out of place
That I don't even recognize my own face
Its all a blur
So I sit and stir
A blend of paints
Trying to draw the saints
But I already know they ain't
Its plain to see
From what has been giving to me
Its not perfect
Its a catastrophe
Poor in taste
I think I need some mace
I know how to make a waste of something so fake
I'd rather draw a picture of a lake
Pure and clean
At least it seems
But who ever really knows
Only time shows
What is what
And who really gives a fruck
Another donation to some christian organization
So some vip can have a boy sex slave on a regular basis
I rather write on the wall
Graffiti as true art
It comes straight from the heart
Kids and their imagination
Someday they will meet my demon
And the choices will be very bleak
No where near as neat
Its of the here and now
I sit in awe
I'm dumbfounded by the very limitations
Of a mind
Who must grow up
Only to realize our world its completely gone
Now go play with that rubber duck in the tub
Enjoy life while its fun
Then get ready to run
Life Is Not Chosen
Life is not at all chosen
It is thrust and forced upon
Only parents prayed for our birth
But someone else is gunning for our death
Democracy or any other system is total failure
Our life is unsecured and precious no more
For a few notorious souls we are simply crushed
Some to the gallows and some in the dungeons pushed
We shall dare not to rise in revolt
To be poor and helpless is only our fault
Who ever comes in power may use same stick!
Nothing else is important than to torture and pick
Human rights violation is order of the day
Only mighty rule and held the sway
Even the people who stand for liberty
Express helplessness, apathy, neglect and pity
Don’t test our patience for a long
One day you may be proving wrong
Nothing may come to your rescue
Only destruction and deaths may be open to view
Human beings are not meant to be slaughtered
They have built dams and river water altered
Many empires have been razed to ground
Not a single sign is likely to be found
Beware! Still time is left to come to sense
Hand over the power peacefully in your presence
Many human lives have been unnecessarily lost
You will loose the power even at tremendous cost
We are peace loving and still care
All living beings are ready to spare
No blood shed for power transition
People are supreme in any composition
We will not remain starved for silly reasons
System has to be changed with honest persons
If no bread can be secured for helpless and poor
They should be forced up on to flee or shown the door
Rule of land and people must prevail
There is should be no deception with tail
No cheating can now be tolerated
Liberty and freedom must remain co-related
Someones got it in for me, theyre planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish theyd cut it out but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named gray and took his wife to italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I cant help it if Im lucky.
People see me all the time and they just cant remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.
Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at,
I couldnt believe after all these years, you didnt know me better than that
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the backroads headin south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
Youre an idiot, babe.
Its a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike
I havent known peace and quiet for so long I cant remember what its like.
Theres a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin out of a boxcar door,
You didnt know it, you didnt think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
After losin every battle.
I woke up on the roadside, daydreamin bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are makin me see stars.
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies.
One day youll be in the ditch, flies buzzin around your eyes,
Blood on your saddle.
Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb,
Blowing through the curtains in your room.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
Youre an idiot, babe.
Its a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasnt enough to change my heart.
Now everythings a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped,
Whats good is bad, whats bad is good, youll find out when you reach the top
Youre on the bottom.
I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I cant remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes
Dont look into mine.
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone-faced while the building
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the springtime
Turned slowly into autumn.
Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the grand coulee dam to the capitol.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
Youre an idiot, babe.
Its a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
I cant feel you anymore, I cant even touch the books youve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin I was somebody else instead.
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy,
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin glory.
I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now Im finally free,
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
Youll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And Ill never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.
Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats,
Blowing through the letters that we wrote.
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves,
Were idiots, babe.
Its a wonder we can even feed ourselves.
How the Boy Stole Christmas
Based on 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas', by Dr. Seuss.
Done for a school project=)
Once, upon a falling snowflake,
In a land far, far away,
There lived all the Whats,
Preparing for Christmas day.
There was one What that stuck out,
The richest What of them all,
He had light brown hair, and big brown eyes
His given name was Paul.
Paul was a greedy boy,
His best friend was Ebenezer Scrooge
And anytime Paul lied,
His little nose turned huge!
Paul was the only What in Whattown,
That really hated this time of the year,
He ruined all the children’s fun,
His pranks were in full gear.
Paul thought Christmas was just trouble,
He only thought of himself,
He thought that Santa Claus was stupid,
And hurt the feelings of every single elf.
He hated everybody that liked Christmas,
There was only one exception of his,
A beautiful What named Rachel,
Whom he never wanted to diss.
Now every story has a problem,
And this one’s is pretty big,
Paul crushed on the Christmas-lover Rachel,
But Rachel thought Paul was a pig.
You see, Rachel was an EXTREME Christmas fanatic,
Loving every aspect of it,
She volunteered everywhere that she could,
And her money? Donated every bit.
She helped out at school and Church,
Sang carols at the old folks’ home,
Baked cookies with younger children,
Made ornaments out of foam.
Rachel hated anybody that hated Christmas,
She was like a packaged deal,
If you want to be her friend,
Your love for Christmas must be real.
Paul was willing to pretend that he loved Christmas,
But then turn Rachel into a hater,
He dreamed they would hurt Santa Claus,
And kill that Christmas figure skater.
But Rachel was smart enough not to fall for the trap,
She could see through him right away,
She said that she would never like him,
Not even in a trillion days.
Paul was simply crushed,
When Rachel had turned him down,
His brain started making plans,
To make the whole world frown.
And so he got the idea,
An amazing idea indeed.
Words could not describe how bad it would be,
If he really did succeed.
Paul was going to steal Christmas,
The idea now so real,
He would crush the Whats like Rachel crushed him,
Hopeless is how Whats would feel.
Paul decided to do everything he could,
To take the fun away,
He would get rid of Christmas cheer,
Much to the Whats dismay.
His idea came naturally,
He would dress up as Santa Claus,
Paul would steal food, presents, and toys,
With a little help from his dog, Paws.
And so Christmas Eve arrived,
The day that was very exciting,
It was the day that all the Whats were at peace,
And nobody was fighting.
The anticipated time arrived,
And Paul was filled with glee,
He was going to ruin Christmas,
Hooray! All right! Yippee!
Paul went to every house in town,
His disguise giving him a Christmas-flare,
He stole ham, Christmas trees, and toys,
And every last teddy bear.
And then Paul and Paws headed home,
To get a good night’s sleep,
They were extremely exhausted,
Stealing Christmas was a hard job to keep!
But when Paul awoke the next morning,
His mood had certainly changed,
The Whats all stood singing in the middle of town,
While love was being exchanged.
It was at that moment that Paul realized,
What Christmas really meant,
It was about love and care and Jesus’ birth,
And it really didn’t cost a cent.
Paul realized why Rachel didn’t like him,
He was very, very greedy,
He did nothing to help out other people,
Like the old, the homeless, and the needy.
Paul silently asked God for forgiveness,
Something he’d never done before,
And his whole heart filled with happiness,
As he was knelt down on the floor.
Then he turned to his dog, Paw, and said,
“You know what we must do.
We must give back the food, trees, and toys,
And ask them to forgive me and you.”
And so Paul went outside,
To the middle of Whattown,
Where every What sang Christmas carols,
While jumping up and down.
Paul called for the Whats’ attention,
And told the Whats what he really believed.
Paul apologized for everything he had done,
And every What seemed relieved.
There were no more Whats that hated Christmas,
Everyone liked it now,
But the Whats were more relieved
About what happened when Paul said “Ciao! ”
Rachel was so amazed,
At what Paul had done,
That she truly believed that she was in love,
That Paul was the perfect one.
So Rachel did what every What did,
She decided to forget and forgive,
That was the true meaning of Christmas,
The reason why Jesus did live.
And now every What had their gifts back,
They had so much to be thankful for,
Because they received a new gift, one of wisdom,
And realized that they couldn’t ask for more.
And as for the greedy boy Paul,
He was nowhere to be seen.
But a new Paul moved into town,
And he was a Christmas loving-machine!
Now Whattown had a fantastic Christmas,
With a lot of fun, cheer, and laughter,
And even after the snowflake hit the ground,
Rachel, Paul, and the Whats lived happily ever after.
Though for your sake I would not have you now
So near to me tonight as now you are,
God knows how much a stranger to my heart
Was any cold word that I may have written;
And you, poor woman that I made my wife,
You have had more of loneliness, I fear,
Than I—though I have been the most alone,
Even when the most attended. So it was
God set the mark of his inscrutable
Necessity on one that was to grope,
And serve, and suffer, and withal be glad
For what was his, and is, and is to be,
When his old bones, that are a burden now,
Are saying what the man who carried them
Had not the power to say. Bones in a grave,
Cover them as they will with choking earth,
May shout the truth to men who put them there,
More than all orators. And so, my dear,
Since you have cheated wisdom for the sake
Of sorrow, let your sorrow be for you,
This last of nights before the last of days,
The lying ghost of what there is of me
That is the most alive. There is no death
For me in what they do. Their death it is
They should heed most when the sun comes again
To make them solemn. There are some I know
Whose eyes will hardly see their occupation,
For tears in them—and all for one old man;
For some of them will pity this old man,
Who took upon himself the work of God
Because he pitied millions. That will be
For them, I fancy, their compassionate
Best way of saying what is best in them
To say; for they can say no more than that,
And they can do no more than what the dawn
Of one more day shall give them light enough
To do. But there are many days to be,
And there are many men to give their blood,
As I gave mine for them. May they come soon!
May they come soon, I say. And when they come,
May all that I have said unheard be heard,
Proving at last, or maybe not—no matter—
What sort of madness was the part of me
That made me strike, whether I found the mark
Or missed it. Meanwhile, I’ve a strange content,
A patience, and a vast indifference
To what men say of me and what men fear
To say. There was a work to be begun,
And when the Voice, that I have heard so long,
Announced as in a thousand silences
An end of preparation, I began
The coming work of death which is to be,
That life may be. There is no other way
Than the old way of war for a new land
That will not know itself and is tonight
A stranger to itself, and to the world
A more prodigious upstart among states
Than I was among men, and so shall be
Till they are told and told, and told again;
For men are children, waiting to be told,
And most of them are children all their lives.
The good God in his wisdom had them so,
That now and then a madman or a seer
May shake them out of their complacency
And shame them into deeds. The major file
See only what their fathers may have seen,
Or may have said they saw when they saw nothing.
I do not say it matters what they saw.
Now and again to some lone soul or other
God speaks, and there is hanging to be done,—
As once there was a burning of our bodies
Alive, albeit our souls were sorry fuel.
But now the fires are few, and we are poised
Accordingly, for the state’s benefit,
A few still minutes between heaven and earth.
The purpose is, when they have seen enough
Of what it is that they are not to see,
To pluck me as an unripe fruit of treason,
And then to fling me back to the same earth
Of which they are, as I suppose, the flower—
Not given to know the riper fruit that waits
For a more comprehensive harvesting.
Yes, may they come, and soon. Again I say,
May they come soon!—before too many of them
Shall be the bloody cost of our defection.
When hell waits on the dawn of a new state,
Better it were that hell should not wait long,—
Or so it is I see it who should see
As far or farther into time tonight
Than they who talk and tremble for me now,
Or wish me to those everlasting fires
That are for me no fear. Too many fires
Have sought me out and seared me to the bone—
Thereby, for all I know, to temper me
For what was mine to do. If I did ill
What I did well, let men say I was mad;
Or let my name for ever be a question
That will not sleep in history. What men say
I was will cool no cannon, dull no sword,
Invalidate no truth. Meanwhile, I was;
And the long train is lighted that shall burn,
Though floods of wrath may drench it, and hot feet
May stamp it for a slight time into smoke
That shall blaze up again with growing speed,
Until at last a fiery crash will come
To cleanse and shake a wounded hemisphere,
And heal it of a long malignity
That angry time discredits and disowns.
Tonight there are men saying many things;
And some who see life in the last of me
Will answer first the coming call to death;
For death is what is coming, and then life.
I do not say again for the dull sake
Of speech what you have heard me say before,
But rather for the sake of all I am,
And all God made of me. A man to die
As I do must have done some other work
Than man’s alone. I was not after glory,
But there was glory with me, like a friend,
Throughout those crippling years when friends were few,
And fearful to be known by their own names
When mine was vilified for their approval.
Yet friends they are, and they did what was given
Their will to do; they could have done no more.
I was the one man mad enough, it seems,
To do my work; and now my work is over.
And you, my dear, are not to mourn for me,
Or for your sons, more than a soul should mourn
In Paradise, done with evil and with earth.
There is not much of earth in what remains
For you; and what there may be left of it
For your endurance you shall have at last
In peace, without the twinge of any fear
For my condition; for I shall be done
With plans and actions that have heretofore
Made your days long and your nights ominous
With darkness and the many distances
That were between us. When the silence comes,
I shall in faith be nearer to you then
Than I am now in fact. What you see now
Is only the outside of an old man,
Older than years have made him. Let him die,
And let him be a thing for little grief.
There was a time for service and he served;
And there is no more time for anything
But a short gratefulness to those who gave
Their scared allegiance to an enterprise
That has the name of treason—which will serve
As well as any other for the present.
There are some deeds of men that have no names,
And mine may like as not be one of them.
I am not looking far for names tonight.
The King of Glory was without a name
Until men gave Him one; yet there He was,
Before we found Him and affronted Him
With numerous ingenuities of evil,
Of which one, with His aid, is to be swept
And washed out of the world with fire and blood.
Once I believed it might have come to pass
With a small cost of blood; but I was dreaming—
Dreaming that I believed. The Voice I heard
When I left you behind me in the north,—
To wait there and to wonder and grow old
Of loneliness,—told only what was best,
And with a saving vagueness, I should know
Till I knew more. And had I known even then—
After grim years of search and suffering,
So many of them to end as they began—
After my sickening doubts and estimations
Of plans abandoned and of new plans vain—
After a weary delving everywhere
For men with every virtue but the Vision—
Could I have known, I say, before I left you
That summer morning, all there was to know—
Even unto the last consuming word
That would have blasted every mortal answer
As lightning would annihilate a leaf,
I might have trembled on that summer morning;
I might have wavered; and I might have failed.
And there are many among men today
To say of me that I had best have wavered.
So has it been, so shall it always be,
For those of us who give ourselves to die
Before we are so parcelled and approved
As to be slaughtered by authority.
We do not make so much of what they say
As they of what our folly says of us;
They give us hardly time enough for that,
And thereby we gain much by losing little.
Few are alive to-day with less to lose.
Than I who tell you this, or more to gain;
And whether I speak as one to be destroyed
For no good end outside his own destruction,
Time shall have more to say than men shall hear
Between now and the coming of that harvest
Which is to come. Before it comes, I go—
By the short road that mystery makes long
For man’s endurance of accomplishment.
I shall have more to say when I am dead.
Someone Keeps Following Me
Someone keeps following me
like the shadow of who I was supposed to be.
The dark sibling of light
whose face got turned away from the sun.
He's the remnant of perfection that's left of me.
He's the one I was expected to achieve.
He's the one I'm supposed to believe.
I'm what happened to him along the way.
And the defeat goes on and on and on.
I want to say look you were there.
You saw what went down.
How natural everything seemed at the time.
How inevitability governed everything like hindsight.
But he just stands there staring
if I were the most inconceivable thing on his mind.
He's the son my mother should have had.
I'm the one she didn't deserve.
He's the blue flower.
And I'm the black dog.
He's the favourite of the rain.
And I'm the fire hydrant that wound up in the sewer
after putting out the fire.
He wanted to live a good life with laudable accomplishments.
He wanted to do well for himself
given where we were born
and he was groomed for it
by the very people who had made him poor.
He vowed to become one of them and thought
all shall be well all shall be well
all manner of thing shall be well
and he'd know the kind of self-respect
you just can't get on welfare.
I went slumming with anyone
who was passionate or dangerous.
I've always felt guilty because
I wasn't better than I am.
I think it was something
my mother kept saying in rage about me
when I was young.
And my tough old broom pod of a granny
I was so much more like my unforgivable father
than my brother and sisters were
I could smell the burning flesh
of some kind of mark being branded on my heart.
O.K. I said
I'm evil but I'm smart
and there's always poetry and art.
I'll be self-destructively creative
and give myself up to visions in the desert
before they drive me out in May
when they cleanse the temples of smoke and incense
and they're looking for a scapegoat
whose innocence is within question.
And that was the first great divide in the mindstream
between him and me
and after that we were two different shores
and one burning bridge.
And I was determined I wasn't going to be the shadow
that got left behind.
So here we are forty-eight years later
and he's asking me with those
eery condescendingly accusing eyes of his
if I think I'm as smart now as I used to be
before I started living my life like a river
instead of a highway
and as much as I love the stars
dropped out of astronomy
because everything felt starless and unshining.
You can make more money
asking stars how old they are
and where they're going spectrographically
than you can sharing the little light you've got to go by
through poetry and painting.
things get worse
the better you get at them.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
You might still think of yourself
as an oscilloscope with a wavelength for a lifeline
but here you're off the radar.
And I lived like that for years.
Women black coffee cigarettes and books.
I wanted to guide people by example
and lead them away from me.
I embodied the estranged compassion of the damned
in everything I did
and kept myself at an appropriate distance
in the aerial and thematic perspectives
of all my works.
I can empathize deeply with people
but seldom to the point
where I let them become me.
I have a plutonium soul
and the afterlife of a nuclear winter.
I'm one of the heavier elements of life
and my intensities are as natural to me
as the stability of his carbon is to him.
And the way I express myself
is more of an exorcism than a seance.
I dispossess myself of all things human
so they won't be hurt by what's left.
And I endure.
And I've got the energy
of an angry rogue star in my genes
that refuses to pale in his sunlight by comparison.
He graces our Russian Mongol ancestry with gilded graves
and tears that run like chandeliers
down his ballroom cheeks.
I trace it in lightyears
and leave the rest to chance.
He preens his decency.
I revel in the bright vacancy
the dark abundance
of my reptilian clarity.
He sees things in a white mirror.
I see through them in a black.
He mourns the things I do.
But he doesn't know a damned thing about agony.
He thinks he's the one who's real.
And he resists me like temptation.
Not to feel might be the way to feel about Zen
but I indulge the passions of an unenlightened man
because I don't trust purity
to remember that it's just the fashion
of a passing moment
that buffs its own reflection in a doorknob
and passes judgment on the poor
with the stiff bliss of a happy slumlord.
His universe is Steady State.
Mine's a Big Bang
empowered by a dark energy
that keeps accelerating my fate
into the void ahead of me
so by the time any kind of insight arrives
it's always too late
to be news.
He's the cornerstone.
I'm the quicksand.
He's the habitable planet
and I'm the menacing asteroid.
He promotes evolution
and I've always got a rock in my hand
as big as the moon
to bring about a change in who rules
the windows and the mirrors
on the other side
of what they expect me to be in passing.
I'm the radical zero
who thinks it's foolish
to try to make something out of nothing
given it's already a given
and he's the commonsensical whole number
that takes account of things.
He says he's not perfect
to be arrogant about his humility
but that's only a shadow of what he lacks.
I try to carry my own weight
because I don't expect much
in the way of serious intelligent help
but he gets around
like a corpse on everybody's backs
as if he were the stranger who came to the rescue.
He's the crutch who leans on legs to hold him up
whenever he walks on water without oars.
I'm the bottom-feeder that he abhors.
But I can take a handful
of the muck and decay of my starmud
and turn it into waterlilies.
I can make my perishing into something beautiful.
I can use death like a spontaneously renewable resource
and make things live
through the transformative power of my art
that are totally blameless
whether they be light or dark.
He comes on like a lifeboat when he's talking to women
as if he were walking by the sea.
He doesn't know how to go swimming without an ark.
Women are attracted to me
like blood in the water
when they're out far enough
to be thrilled by sharks.
I'm the zoo on the outside of the cage
that blunts its teeth on the bars.
He's in it for the documentary footage
and a few convincing scars.
The sheep hunt tigers into extinction
and the goldfish are trawling
for grey nurses and great whites
to make sharkfin soup.
Even in hell
there's a sense of proportion
almost a moral aesthetic
that goes unspoken
until someone spots a jackass
trying to lead an eagle around on a leash.
The distastes of a demonic imagination are not petty.
The taboo of the maggot
is not the rule of the whale.
So get behind me my shadow my brother self.
Don't flash your lighthouse in my eyes
when the stars are out
as if I'm the one
that's a few magnitudes shy of shining.
It would do you a lot of good to be a little bit bad
but then you'd feel too close to me for comfort
and forget who you are to everyone else.
I've never needed anything more
than the dust at my heels
to show me the way down.
I'm descending into heaven
and sometimes I'm plunging toward hell.
But what can you say about a man
standing at the edge of the bottomless abyss
of his own draconian absence
waiting for the flightfeathers of stray angels
with spare parachutes
to fall out of the sky?
I know you look so far down at me
from that overview
you've exalted like a balcony
that got it's start in life as a pulpit
you suffer from vertigo.
But I could have told you little brother.
I wouldn't want to alarm or harm you in any way
but I could have looked you straight in the eye
like a bemused king cobra
flaring over your nest like an unpredictable eclipse
or an umbrella somebody opened in the house
and diverted the luck of their lifeline
from the original course of its flowing
into a starmap for dice
pitted with eyeless blackholes
like the sockets in ivory skulls
lost in this wilderness alone
where nothing reminds them of home.
The dice are thrown.
You may be a better threshold than I am
but I've been crossed by the Rubicon
and I could have told you little brother
without even so much
as the penumbral shadow of a lie
to fall into your milk like a dragon.
I could have dipped
my other wing into your cup
as an antidote to clarify what ails you.
And as you drank up
I could have told you little brother.
The first shall be last
and the last shall be first
and it's not a good idea when you're here
to antagonize the lowlife
with your insufferable highness
from your upper story balcony
as if you were always trying
to get something out of your eye
who burns like a cinder
just to see if I can make God cry
to hear why
I would have told you little brother
even snakes can fly.
'Heigh, boys!' cried Grandfather Bridgeman, 'it's time before dinner to-day.'
He lifted the crumpled letter, and thumped a surprising 'Hurrah!'
Up jumped all the echoing young ones, but John, with the starch in his throat,
Said, 'Father, before we make noises, let's see the contents of the note.'
The old man glared at him harshly, and twinkling made answer: 'Too bad!
John Bridgeman, I'm always the whisky, and you are the water, my lad!'
But soon it was known thro' the house, and the house ran over for joy,
That news, good news, great marvels, had come from the soldier boy;
Young Tom, the luckless scapegrace, offshoot of Methodist John;
His grandfather's evening tale, whom the old man hailed as his son.
And the old man's shout of pride was a shout of his victory, too;
For he called his affection a method: the neighbours' opinions he knew.
Meantime, from the morning table removing the stout breakfast cheer,
The drink of the three generations, the milk, the tea, and the beer
(Alone in its generous reading of pints stood the Grandfather's jug),
The women for sight of the missive came pressing to coax and to hug.
He scattered them quick, with a buss and a smack; thereupon he began
Diversions with John's little Sarah: on Sunday, the naughty old man!
Then messengers sped to the maltster, the auctioneer, miller, and all
The seven sons of the farmer who housed in the range of his call.
Likewise the married daughters, three plentiful ladies, prime cooks,
Who bowed to him while they condemned, in meek hope to stand high in his books.
'John's wife is a fool at a pudding,' they said, and the light carts up hill
Went merrily, flouting the Sabbath: for puddings well made mend a will.
The day was a van-bird of summer: the robin still piped, but the blue,
As a warm and dreamy palace with voices of larks ringing thro',
Looked down as if wistfully eyeing the blossoms that fell from its lap:
A day to sweeten the juices: a day to quicken the sap.
All round the shadowy orchard sloped meadows in gold, and the dear
Shy violets breathed their hearts out: the maiden breath of the year!
Full time there was before dinner to bring fifteen of his blood,
To sit at the old man's table: they found that the dinner was good.
But who was she by the lilacs and pouring laburnums concealed,
When under the blossoming apple the chair of the Grandfather wheeled?
She heard one little child crying, 'Dear brave Cousin Tom!' as it leapt;
Then murmured she: 'Let me spare them!' and passed round the walnuts, and wept.
Yet not from sight had she slipped ere feminine eyes could detect
The figure of Mary Charlworth. 'It's just what we all might expect,'
Was uttered: and: 'Didn't I tell you?' Of Mary the rumour resounds,
That she is now her own mistress, and mistress of five thousand pounds.
'Twas she, they say, who cruelly sent young Tom to the war.
Miss Mary, we thank you now! If you knew what we're thanking you for!
But, 'Have her in: let her hear it,' called Grandfather Bridgeman, elate,
While Mary's black-gloved fingers hung trembling with flight on the gate.
Despite the women's remonstrance, two little ones, lighter than deer,
Were loosed, and Mary, imprisoned, her whole face white as a tear,
Came forward with culprit footsteps. Her punishment was to commence:
The pity in her pale visage they read in a different sense.
'You perhaps may remember a fellow, Miss Charlworth, a sort of black sheep,'
The old man turned his tongue to ironical utterance deep:
'He came of a Methodist dad, so it wasn't his fault if he kicked.
He earned a sad reputation, but Methodists are mortal strict.
His name was Tom, and, dash me! but Bridgeman! I think you might add:
Whatever he was, bear in mind that he came of a Methodist dad.'
This prelude dismally lengthened, till Mary, starting, exclaimed,
'A letter, Sir, from your grandson?' 'Tom Bridgeman that rascal is named,'
The old man answered, and further, the words that sent Tom to the ranks
Repeated as words of a person to whom they all owed mighty thanks.
But Mary never blushed: with her eyes on the letter, she sate,
And twice interrupting him faltered, 'The date, may I ask, Sir, the date?'
'Why, that's what I never look at in a letter,' the farmer replied:
'Facts first! and now I'll be parson.' The Bridgeman women descried
A quiver on Mary's eyebrows. One turned, and while shifting her comb,
Said low to a sister: 'I'm certain she knows more than we about Tom.
She wants him now he's a hero!' The same, resuming her place,
Begged Mary to check them the moment she found it a tedious case.
Then as a mastiff swallows the snarling noises of cats,
The voice of the farmer opened. ''Three cheers, and off with your hats!'
- That's Tom. 'We've beaten them, Daddy, and tough work it was, to be sure!
A regular stand-up combat: eight hours smelling powder and gore.
I entered it Serjeant-Major,'-and now he commands a salute,
And carries the flag of old England! Heigh! see him lift foes on his foot!
'-An officer! ay, Miss Charlworth, he is, or he is so to be;
You'll own war isn't such humbug: and Glory means something, you see.
'But don't say a word,' he continues, 'against the brave French any more.'
- That stopt me: we'll now march together. I couldn't read further before.
That 'brave French' I couldn't stomach. He can't see their cunning to get
Us Britons to fight their battles, while best half the winnings they net!'
The old man sneered, and read forward. It was of that desperate fight; -
The Muscovite stole thro' the mist-wreaths that wrapped the chill Inkermann height,
Where stood our silent outposts: old England was in them that day!
O sharp worked his ruddy wrinkles, as if to the breath of the fray
They moved! He sat bareheaded: his long hair over him slow
Swung white as the silky bog-flowers in purple heath-hollows that grow.
And louder at Tom's first person: acute and in thunder the 'I'
Invaded the ear with a whinny of triumph, that seem'd to defy
The hosts of the world. All heated, what wonder he little could brook
To catch the sight of Mary's demure puritanical look?
And still as he led the onslaught, his treacherous side-shots he sent
At her who was fighting a battle as fierce, and who sat there unbent.
''We stood in line, and like hedgehogs the Russians rolled under us thick.
They frightened me there.'-He's no coward; for when, Miss, they came at the quick,
The sight, he swears, was a breakfast.-'My stomach felt tight: in a glimpse
I saw you snoring at home with the dear cuddled-up little imps.
And then like the winter brickfields at midnight, hot fire lengthened out.
Our fellows were just leashed bloodhounds: no heart of the lot faced about.
''And only that grumbler, Bob Harris, remarked that we stood one to ten:
'Ye fool,' says Mick Grady, 'just tell 'em they know to compliment men!'
And I sang out your old words: 'If the opposite side isn't God's,
Heigh! after you've counted a dozen, the pluckiest lads have the odds.'
Ping-ping flew the enemies' pepper: the Colonel roared, Forward, and we
Went at them. 'Twas first like a blanket: and then a long plunge in the sea.
''Well, now about me and the Frenchman: it happened I can't tell you how:
And, Grandfather, hear, if you love me, and put aside prejudice now':
He never says 'Grandfather'-Tom don't-save it's a serious thing.
'Well, there were some pits for the rifles, just dug on our French-leaning wing:
And backwards, and forwards, and backwards we went, and at last I was vexed,
And swore I would never surrender a foot when the Russians charged next.
''I know that life's worth keeping.'-Ay, so it is, lad; so it is! -
'But my life belongs to a woman.'-Does that mean Her Majesty, Miss? -
'These Russians came lumping and grinning: they're fierce at it, though they are blocks.
Our fellows were pretty well pumped, and looked sharp for the little French cocks.
Lord, didn't we pray for their crowing! when over us, on the hill-top,
Behold the first line of them skipping, like kangaroos seen on the hop.
''That sent me into a passion, to think of them spying our flight!'
Heigh, Tom! you've Bridgeman blood, boy! And, ''Face them!' I shouted: 'All right;
Sure, Serjeant, we'll take their shot dacent, like gentlemen,' Grady replied.
A ball in his mouth, and the noble old Irishman dropped by my side.
Then there was just an instant to save myself, when a short wheeze
Of bloody lungs under the smoke, and a red-coat crawled up on his knees.
'''Twas Ensign Baynes of our parish.'-Ah, ah, Miss Charlworth, the one
Our Tom fought for a young lady? Come, now we've got into the fun!-
'I shouldered him: he primed his pistol, and I trailed my musket, prepared.'
Why, that's a fine pick-a-back for ye, to make twenty Russians look scared!
'They came-never mind how many: we couldn't have run very well,
We fought back to back: 'face to face, our last time!' he said, smiling, and fell.
''Then I strove wild for his body: the beggars saw glittering rings,
Which I vowed to send to his mother. I got some hard knocks and sharp stings,
But felt them no more than angel, or devil, except in the wind.
I know that I swore at a Russian for showing his teeth, and he grinned
The harder: quick, as from heaven, a man on a horse rode between,
And fired, and swung his bright sabre: I can't write you more of the scene.
''But half in his arms, and half at his stirrup, he bore me right forth,
And pitched me among my old comrades: before I could tell south from north,
He caught my hand up, and kissed it! Don't ever let any man speak
A word against Frenchmen, I near him! I can't find his name, tho' I seek.
But French, and a General, surely he was, and, God bless him! thro' him
I've learnt to love a whole nation.'' The ancient man paused, winking dim.
A curious look, half woeful, was seen on his face as he turned
His eyes upon each of his children, like one who but faintly discerned
His old self in an old mirror. Then gathering sense in his fist,
He sounded it hard on his knee-cap. 'Your hand, Tom, the French fellow kissed!
He kissed my boy's old pounder! I say he's a gentleman!' Straight
The letter he tossed to one daughter; bade her the remainder relate.
Tom properly stated his praises in facts, but the lady preferred
To deck the narration with brackets, and drop her additional word.
What nobler Christian natures these women could boast, who, 'twas known,
Once spat at the name of their nephew, and now made his praises their own!
The letter at last was finished, the hearers breathed freely, and sign
Was given, 'Tom's health!'-Quoth the farmer: 'Eh, Miss? are you weak in the spine?'
For Mary had sunk, and her body was shaking, as if in a fit.
Tom's letter she held, and her thumb-nail the month when the letter was writ
Fast-dinted, while she hung sobbing: 'O, see, Sir, the letter is old!
O, do not be too happy!'-'If I understand you, I'm bowled!'
Said Grandfather Bridgeman, 'and down go my wickets!-not happy! when here,
Here's Tom like to marry his General's daughter-or widow-I'll swear!
'I wager he knows how to strut, too! It's all on the cards that the Queen
Will ask him to Buckingham Palace, to say what he's done and he's seen.
Victoria's fond of her soldiers: and she's got a nose for a fight.
If Tom tells a cleverish story-there is such a thing as a knight!
And don't he look roguish and handsome!-To see a girl snivelling there -
By George, Miss, it's clear that you're jealous'-'I love him!' she answered his stare.
'Yes! now!' breathed the voice of a woman.-'Ah! now!' quiver'd low the reply.
'And 'now''s just a bit too late, so it's no use your piping your eye,'
The farmer added bluffly: 'Old Lawyer Charlworth was rich;
You followed his instructions in kicking Tom into the ditch.
If you're such a dutiful daughter, that doesn't prove Tom is a fool.
Forgive and forget's my motto! and here's my grog growing cool!'
'But, Sir,' Mary faintly repeated: 'for four long weeks I have failed
To come and cast on you my burden; such grief for you always prevailed!
My heart has so bled for you!' The old man burst on her speech:
'You've chosen a likely time, Miss! a pretty occasion to preach!'
And was it not outrageous, that now, of all times, one should come
With incomprehensible pity! Far better had Mary been dumb.
But when again she stammered in this bewildering way,
The farmer no longer could bear it, and begged her to go, or to stay,
But not to be whimpering nonsense at such a time. Pricked by a goad,
'Twas you who sent him to glory:- you've come here to reap what you sowed.
Is that it?' he asked; and the silence the elders preserved plainly said,
On Mary's heaving bosom this begging-petition was read.
And that it was scarcely a bargain that she who had driven him wild
Should share now the fruits of his valour, the women expressed, as they smiled.
The family pride of the Bridgemans was comforted; still, with contempt,
They looked on a monied damsel of modesty quite so exempt.
'O give me force to tell them!' cried Mary, and even as she spoke,
A shout and a hush of the children: a vision on all of them broke.
Wheeled, pale, in a chair, and shattered, the wreck of their hero was seen;
The ghost of Tom drawn slow o'er the orchard's shadowy green.
Could this be the martial darling they joyed in a moment ago?
'He knows it?' to Mary Tom murmured, and closed his weak lids at her 'No.'
'Beloved!' she said, falling by him, 'I have been a coward: I thought
You lay in the foreign country, and some strange good might be wrought.
'Each day I have come to tell him, and failed, with my hand on the gate.
I bore the dreadful knowledge, and crushed my heart with its weight.
The letter brought by your comrade-he has but just read it aloud!
It only reached him this morning!' Her head on his shoulder she bowed.
Then Tom with pity's tenderest lordliness patted her arm,
And eyed the old white-head fondly, with something of doubt and alarm.
O, take to your fancy a sculptor whose fresh marble offspring appears
Before him, shiningly perfect, the laurel-crown'd issue of years:
Is heaven offended? for lightning behold from its bosom escape,
And those are mocking fragments that made the harmonious shape!
He cannot love the ruins, till, feeling that ruins alone
Are left, he loves them threefold. So passed the old grandfather's moan.
John's text for a sermon on Slaughter he heard, and he did not protest.
All rigid as April snowdrifts, he stood, hard and feeble; his chest
Just showing the swell of the fire as it melted him. Smiting a rib,
'Heigh! what have we been about, Tom! Was this all a terrible fib?'
He cried, and the letter forth-trembled. Tom told what the cannon had done.
Few present but ached to see falling those aged tears on his heart's son!
Up lanes of the quiet village, and where the mill-waters rush red
Thro' browning summer meadows to catch the sun's crimsoning head,
You meet an old man and a maiden who has the soft ways of a wife
With one whom they wheel, alternate; whose delicate flush of new life
Is prized like the early primrose. Then shake his right hand, in the chair -
The old man fails never to tell you: 'You've got the French General's there!'
Now being on the eve of death, discharged
From every mortal hope and earthly care,
I questioned how my soul might best employ
This hand, and this still wakeful flame of mind,
In the brief hours yet left me for their use;
Wherefore have I bethought me of my friend,
Of you, Philarchus, and your company,
Yet wavering in the faith and unconfirmed;
Perchance that I may break into thine heart
Some sorrowful channel for the love divine,
I make this simple record of our proof
In diverse sufferings for the name of Christ,
Whereof the end already for the most
Is death this day with steadfast faith endured.
We were in prison many days, close-pent
In the black lower dungeon, housed with thieves
And murderers and divers evil men;
So foul a pressure, we had almost died,
Even there, in struggle for the breath of life
Amid the stench and unendurable heat;
Nor could we find each other save by voice
Or touch, to know that we were yet alive,
So terrible was the darkness. Yea, 'twas hard
To keep the sacred courage in our hearts,
When all was blind with that unchanging night,
And foul with death, and on our ears the taunts
And ribald curses of the soldiery
Fell mingled with the prisoners' cries, a load
Sharper to bear, more bitter than their blows.
At first, what with that dread of our abode,
Our sudden apprehension, and the threats
Ringing perpetually in our ears, we lost
The living fire of faith, and like poor hinds
Would have denied our Lord and fallen away.
Even Perpetua, whose joyous faith
Was in the later holier days to be
The stay and comfort of our weaker ones,
Was silent for long whiles. Perchance she shrank
In the mere sickness of the flesh, confused
And shaken by our new and horrible plight--
The tender flesh, untempered and untried,
Not quickened yet nor mastered by the soul;
For she was of a fair and delicate make,
Most gently nurtured, to whom stripes and threats
And our foul prison-house were things undreamed.
But little by little as our spirits grew
Inured to suffering, with clasped hands, and tongues
That cheered each other to incessant prayer,
We rose and faced our trouble: we recalled
Our Master's sacred agony and death,
Setting before our eyes the high reward
Of steadfast faith, the martyr's deathless crown.
So passed some days whose length and count we lost,
Our bitterest trial. Then a respite came.
One who had interest with the governor
Wrought our removal daily for some hours
Into an upper chamber, where we sat
And held each other's hands in childish joy,
Receiving the sweet gift of light and air
With wonder and exceeding thankfulness.
And then began that life of daily growth
In mutual exaltation and sweet help
That bore us as a gently widening stream
Unto the ocean of our martyrdom.
Uniting all our feebler souls in one--
A mightier--we reached forth with this to God.
Perpetua had been troubled for her babe,
Robbed of the breast and now these many days
Wasting for want of food; but when that change
Whereof I spake, of light and liberty
Relieved the horror of our prison gloom,
They brought it to her, and she sat apart,
And nursed and tended it, and soon the child
Would not be parted from her arms, but throve
And fattened, and she kept it night and day.
And always at her side with sleepless care
Hovered the young Felicitas--a slight
And spiritual figure--every touch and tone
Charged with premonitory tenderness,
Herself so near to her own motherhood.
Thus lightened and relieved, Perpetua
Recovered from her silent fit. Her eyes
Regained their former deep serenity,
Her tongue its gentle daring; for she knew
Her life should not be taken till her babe
Had strengthened and outgrown the need of her.
Daily we were amazed at her soft strength,
Her pliant and untroubled constancy,
Her smiling, soldierly contempt of death,
Her beauty and the sweetness of her voice.
Her father, when our first few bitterest days
Were over, like a gust of grief and rage,
Came to her in the prison with wild eyes,
And cried: 'How mean you, daughter, when you say
You are a Christian? How can any one
Of honoured blood, the child of such as me,
Be Christian? 'Tis an odious name, the badge
Only of outcasts and rebellious slaves!'
And she, grief-touched, but with unyielding gaze,
Showing the fulness of her slender height:
'This vessel, father, being what it is,
An earthen pitcher, would you call it thus?
Or would you name it by some other name?'
'Nay, surely,' said the old man, catching breath,
And pausing, and she answered: 'Nor can I
Call myself aught but what I surely am--
A Christian!' and her father, flashing back
In silent anger, left her for that time.
A special favour to Perpetua
Seemed daily to be given, and her soul
Was made the frequent vessel of God's grace,
Wherefrom we all, less gifted, sore athirst,
Drank courage and fresh joy; for glowing dreams
Were sent her, full of forms august, and fraught
With signs and symbols of the glorious end
Whereto God's love hath aimed us for Christ's sake.
Once--at what hour I know not, for we lay
In that foul dungeon, where all hours were lost,
And day and night were indistinguishable--
We had been sitting a long silent while,
Some lightly sleeping, others bowed in prayer,
When on a sudden, like a voice from God,
Perpetua spake to us and all were roused.
Her voice was rapt and solemn: 'Friends,' she said,
'Some word hath come to me in a dream. I saw
A ladder leading to heaven, all of gold,
Hung up with lances, swords, and hooks. A land
Of darkness and exceeding peril lay
Around it, and a dragon fierce as hell
Guarded its foot. We doubted who should first
Essay it, but you, Saturus, at last--
So God hath marked you for especial grace--
Advancing and against the cruel beast
Aiming the potent weapon of Christ's name--
Mounted, and took me by the hand, and I
The next one following, and so the rest
In order, and we entered with great joy
Into a spacious garden filled with light
And balmy presences of love and rest;
And there an old man sat, smooth-browed, white-haired,
Surrounded by unnumbered myriads
Of spiritual shapes and faces angel-eyed,
Milking his sheep; and lifting up his eyes
He welcomed us in strange and beautiful speech,
Unknown yet comprehended, for it flowed
Not through the ears, but forth-right to the soul,
God's language of pure love. Between the lips
Of each he placed a morsel of sweet curd;
And while the curd was yet within my mouth,
I woke, and still the taste of it remains,
Through all my body flowing like white flame,
Sweet as of some immaculate spiritual thing.'
And when Perpetua had spoken, all
Were silent in the darkness, pondering,
But Saturus spake gently for the rest:
'How perfect and acceptable must be
Your soul to God, Perpetua, that thus
He bends to you, and through you speaks his will.
We know now that our martyrdom is fixed,
Nor need we vex us further for this life.'
While yet these thoughts were bright upon our souls,
There came the rumour that a day was set
To hear us. Many of our former friends,
Some with entreaties, some with taunts and threats,
Came to us to pervert us; with the rest
Again Perpetua's father, worn with care;
Nor could we choose but pity his distress,
So miserably, with abject cries and tears,
He fondled her and called her 'Domina,'
And bowed his aged body at her feet,
Beseeching her by all the names she loved
To think of him, his fostering care, his years,
And also of her babe, whose life, he said,
Would fail without her; but Perpetua,
Sustaining by a gift of strength divine
The fulness of her noble fortitude,
Answered him tenderly: 'Both you and I,
And all of us, my father, at this hour
Are equally in God's hands, and what he wills
Must be'; but when the poor old man was gone
She wept, and knelt for many hours in prayer,
Sore tried and troubled by her tender heart.
One day, while we were at our midday meal,
Our cell was entered by the soldiery,
And we were seized and borne away for trial.
A surging crowd had gathered, and we passed
From street to street, hemmed in by tossing heads
And faces cold or cruel; yet we caught
At moments from masked lips and furtive eyes
Of friends--some known to as and some unknown--
Many veiled messages of love and praise.
The floorways of the long basilica
Fronted us with an angry multitude;
And scornful eyes and threatening foreheads frowned
In hundreds from the columned galleries.
We were placed all together at the bar,
And though at first unsteadied and confused
By the imperial presence of the law,
The pomp of judgment and the staring crowd,
None failed or faltered; with unshaken tongue
Each met the stern Proconsul's brief demand
In clear profession. Rapt as in a dream,
Scarce conscious of my turn, nor how I spake,
I watched with wondering eyes the delicate face
And figure of Perpetua; for her
We that were youngest of our company
Loved with a sacred and absorbing love,
A passion that our martyr's brotherly vow
Had purified and made divine. She stood
In dreamy contemplation, slightly bowed,
A glowing stillness that was near a smile
Upon her soft closed lips. Her turn had come,
When, like a puppet struggling up the steps,
Her father from the pierced and swaying crowd
Appeared, unveiling in his aged arms
The smiling visage of her babe. He grasped
Her robe, and strove to draw her down. All eyes
Were bent upon her. With a softening glance,
And voice less cold and heavy with death's doom,
The old Proconsul turned to her and said:
'Lady, have pity on your father's age;
Be mindful of your tender babe; this grain
Of harmless incense offer for the peace
And welfare of the Emperor'; but she,
Lifting far forth her large and noteless eyes,
As one that saw a vision, only said:
'I cannot sacrifice'; and he, harsh tongued,
Bending a brow upon her rough as rock,
With eyes that struck like steel, seeking to break
Or snare her with a sudden stroke of fear:
'Art thou a Christian?' and she answered, 'Yea,
I am a Christian!' In brow-blackening wrath
He motioned a contemptuous hand and bade
The lictors scourge the old man down and forth
With rods, and as the cruel deed was done,
Perpetua stood white with quivering lips,
And her eyes filled with tears. While yet his cries
Were mingling with the curses of the crowd,
Hilarianus, calling name by name,
Gave sentence, and in cold and formal phrase
Condemned us to the beasts, and we returned
Rejoicing to our prison. Then we wished
Our martyrdom could soon have followed, not
As doubting for our constancy, but some
Grew sick under the anxious long suspense.
Perpetua again was weighed upon
By grief and trouble for her babe, whom now
Her father, seeking to depress her will,
Withheld and would not send it; but at length
Word being brought her that the child indeed
No longer suffered, nor desired the breast,
Her peace returned, and, giving thanks to God,
All were united in new bonds of hope.
Now being fixed in certitude of death,
We stripped our souls of all their earthly gear,
The useless raiment of this world; and thus,
Striving together with a single will,
In daily increment of faith and power,
We were much comforted by heavenly dreams,
And waking visitations of God's grace.
Visions of light and glory infinite
Were frequent with us, and by night or day
Woke at the very name of Christ the Lord,
Taken at any moment on our lips;
So that we had no longer thought or care
Of life or of the living, but became
As spirits from this earth already freed,
Scarce conscious of the dwindling weight of flesh.
To Saturus appeared in dreams the space
And splendour of the heavenly house of God,
The glowing gardens of eternal joy,
The halls and chambers of the cherubim,
In wreaths of endless myriads involved
The blinding glory of the angel choir,
Rolling through deeps of wheeling cloud and light
The thunder of their vast antiphonies.
The visions of Perpetua not less
Possessed us with their homely tenderness--
As one, wherein she saw a rock-set pool
And weeping o'er its rim a little child,
Her brother, long since dead, Dinocrates:
Though sore athirst, he could not reach the stream,
Being so small, and her heart grieved thereat.
She looked again, and lo! the pool had risen,
And the child filled his goblet, and drank deep,
And prattling in a tender childish joy
Ran gaily off, as infants do, to play.
By this she knew his soul had found release
From torment, and had entered into bliss.
Quickly as by a merciful gift of God,
Our vigil passed unbroken. Yesternight
They moved us to the amphitheatre,
Our final lodging-place on earth, and there
We sat together at our agape
For the last time. In silence, rapt and pale,
We hearkened to the aged Saturus,
Whose speech, touched with a ghostly eloquence,
Canvassed the fraud and littleness of life,
God's goodness and the solemn joy of death.
Perpetua was silent, but her eyes
Fell gently upon each of us, suffused
With inward and eradiant light; a smile
Played often upon her lips.
While yet we sat,
A tribune with a band of soldiery
Entered our cell, and would have had us bound
In harsher durance, fearing our escape
By fraud or witchcraft; but Perpetua,
Facing him gently with a noble note
Of wonder in her voice, and on her lips
A lingering smile of mournful irony:
'Sir, are ye not unwise to harass us,
And rob us of our natural food and rest?
Should ye not rather tend us with soft care,
And so provide a comely spectacle?
We shall not honour Caesar's birthday well,
If we be waste and weak, a piteous crew,
Poor playthings for your proud and pampered beasts.'
The noisy tribune, whether touched indeed,
Or by her grave and tender grace abashed,
Muttered and stormed a while, and then withdrew.
The short night passed in wakeful prayer for some,
For others in brief sleep, broken by dreams
And spiritual visitations. Earliest dawn
Found us arisen, and Perpetua,
Moving about with smiling lips, soft-tongued,
Besought us to take food; lest so, she said,
For all the strength and courage of our hearts,
Our bodies should fall faint. We heard without,
Already ere the morning light was full,
The din of preparation, and the hum
Of voices gathering in the upper tiers;
Yet had we seen so often in our thoughts
The picture of this strange and cruel death,
Its festal horror, and its bloody pomp,
The nearness scarcely moved us, and our hands
Met in a steadfast and unshaken clasp.
The day is over. Ah, my friend, how long
With its wild sounds and bloody sights it seemed!
Night comes, and I am still alive--even I,
The least and last--with other two, reserved
To grace to-morrow's second day. The rest
Have suffered and with holy rapture passed
Into their glory. Saturus and the men
Were given to bears and leopards, but the crowd
Feasted their eyes upon no cowering shape,
Nor hue of fear, nor painful cry. They died
Like armed men, face foremost to the beasts,
With prayers and sacred songs upon their lips.
Perpetua and the frail Felicitas
Were seized before our eyes and roughly stripped,
And shrinking and entreating, not for fear,
Nor hurt, but bitter shame, were borne away
Into the vast arena, and hung up
In nets, naked before the multitude,
For a fierce bull, maddened by goads, to toss.
Some sudden tumult of compassion seized
The crowd, and a great murmur like a wave
Rose at the sight, and grew, and thundered up
From tier to tier, deep and imperious:
So white, so innocent they were, so pure:
Their tender limbs so eloquent of shame;
And so our loved ones were brought back, all faint,
And covered with light raiment, and again
Led forth, and now with smiling lips they passed
Pale, but unbowed, into the awful ring,
Holding each other proudly by the hand.
Perpetua first was tossed, and her robe rent,
But, conscious only of the glaring eyes,
She strove to hide herself as best she could
In the torn remnants of her flimsy robe,
And putting up her hands clasped back her hair,
So that she might not die as one in grief,
Unseemly and dishevelled. Then she turned,
And in her loving arms caressed and raised
The dying, bruised Felicitas. Once more
Gored by the cruel beast, they both were borne
Swooning and mortally stricken from the field.
Perpetua, pale and beautiful, her lips
Parted as in a lingering ecstasy,
Could not believe the end had come, but asked
When they were to be given to the beasts.
The keepers gathered round her--even they--
In wondering pity--while with fearless hand,
Bidding us all be faithful and stand firm,
She bared her breast, and guided to its goal
The gladiator's sword that pierced her heart.
The night is passing. In a few short hours
I too shall suffer for the name of Christ.
A boundless exaltation lifts my soul!
I know that they who left us, Saturus,
Perpetua, and the other blessed ones,
Await me at the opening gates of heaven.
THE WIDOW'S TALE.
To Farmer Moss, in Langar Vale, came down,
His only daughter, from her school in town;
A tender, timid maid! who knew not how
To pass a pig-sty, or to face a cow:
Smiling she came, with petty talents graced,
A fair complexion, and a slender waist.
Used to spare meals, disposed in manner pure,
Her father's kitchen she could ill endure:
Where by the steaming beef he hungry sat,
And laid at once a pound upon his plate;
Hot from the field, her eager brother seized
An equal part, and hunger's rage appeased;
The air surcharged with moisture, flagg'd around,
And the offended damsel sigh'd and frown'd;
The swelling fat in lumps conglomerate laid,
And fancy's sickness seized the loathing maid:
But when the men beside their station took,
The maidens with them, and with these the cook;
When one huge wooden bowl before them stood,
Fill'd with huge balls of farinaceous food;
With bacon, mass saline, where never lean
Beneath the brown and bristly rind was seen;
When from a single horn the party drew
Their copious draughts of heavy ale and new;
When the coarse cloth she saw, with many a stain
Soil'd by rude hinds who cut and came again -
She could not breathe; but with a heavy sigh,
Rein'd the fair neck, and shut th' offended eye;
She minced the sanguine flesh in frustums fine,
And wonder'd much to see the creatures dine;
When she resolved her father's heart to move,
If hearts of farmers were alive to love.
She now entreated by herself to sit
In the small parlour, if papa thought fit,
And there to dine, to read, to work alone -
'No!' said the Farmer in an angry tone;
'These are your school-taught airs; your mother's
Would send you there; but I am now your guide. -
Arise betimes, our early meal prepare,
And, this despatch'd, let business be your care;
Look to the lasses, let there not be one
Who lacks attention, till her tasks be done;
In every household work your portion take,
And what you make not, see that others make:
At leisure times attend the wheel, and see
The whit'ning web besprinkled on the lea;
When thus employ'd, should our young neighbours
A useful lass,--you may have more to do.'
Dreadful were these commands; but worse than
The parting hint--a Farmer could not please:
'Tis true she had without abhorrence seen
Young Harry Carr, when he was smart and clean:
But, to be married--be a farmer's wife -
A slave! a drudge!--she could not for her life.
With swimming eyes the fretful nymph withdrew,
And, deeply sighing, to her chamber flew;
There on her knees, to Heaven she grieving pray'd
For change of prospect to a tortured maid.
Harry, a youth whose late-departed sire
Had left him all industrious men require,
Saw the pale Beauty,--and her shape and air
Engaged him much, and yet he must forbear:
'For my small farm what can the damsel do?'
He said,--then stopp'd to take another view:
'Pity so sweet a lass will nothing learn
Of household cares,--for what can beauty earn
By those small arts which they at school attain,
That keep them useless, and yet make them vain?'
This luckless Damsel look'd the village round,
To find a friend, and one was quickly found:
A pensive Widow, whose mild air and dress
Pleased the sad nymph, who wish'd her soul's
To one so seeming kind, confiding, to confess.
'What Lady that?' the anxious lass inquired,
Who then beheld the one she most admired:
'Here,' said the Brother, 'are no ladies seen -
That is a widow dwelling on the Green;
A dainty dame, who can but barely live
On her poor pittance, yet contrives to give;
She happier days has known, but seems at ease,
And you may call her lady if you please:
But if you wish, good sister, to improve,
You shall see twenty better worth your love.'
These Nancy met; but, spite of all they taught,
This useless Widow was the one she sought:
The father growl'd; but said he knew no harm
In such connexion that could give alarm;
'And if we thwart the trifler in her course,
'Tis odds against us she will take a worse.'
Then met the friends; the Widow heard the sigh
That ask'd at once compassion and reply: -
'Would you, my child, converse with one so poor,
Yours were the kindness--yonder is my door:
And, save the time that we in public pray,
From that poor cottage I but rarely stray.'
There went the nymph, and made her strong
Painting her woe as injured feeling paints.
'Oh, dearest friend! do think how one must feel,
Shock'd all day long, and sicken'd every meal;
Could you behold our kitchen (and to you
A scene so shocking must indeed be new),
A mind like yours, with true refinement graced,
Would let no vulgar scenes pollute your taste:
And yet, in truth, from such a polish'd mind
All base ideas must resistance find,
And sordid pictures from the fancy pass,
As the breath startles from the polish'd glass.
'Here you enjoy a sweet romantic scene,
Without so pleasant, and within so clean;
These twining jess'mines, what delicious gloom
And soothing fragrance yield they to the room!
What lovely garden! there you oft retire,
And tales of woe and tenderness admire.
In that neat case your books, in order placed,
Soothe the full soul, and charm the cultur'd taste;
And thus, while all about you wears a charm,
How must you scorn the Farmer and the Farm!'
The Widow smiled, and 'Know you not,' said she,
'How much these farmers scorn or pity me;
Who see what you admire, and laugh at all they see?
True, their opinion alters not my fate,
By falsely judging of an humble state:
This garden you with such delight behold,
Tempts not a feeble dame who dreads the cold;
These plants which please so well your livelier
To mine but little of their sweets dispense:
Books soon are painful to my failing sight,
And oftener read from duty than delight;
(Yet let me own, that I can sometimes find
Both joy and duty in the act combined
But view me rightly, you will see no more
Than a poor female, willing to be poor;
Happy indeed, but not in books nor flowers,
Not in fair dreams, indulged in earlier hours,
Of never-tasted joys;--such visions shun,
My youthful friend, nor scorn the Farmer's Son.'
'Nay,' said the Damsel, nothing pleased to see
A friend's advice could like a Father's be,
'Bless'd in your cottage, you must surely smile
At those who live in our detested style:
To my Lucinda's sympathising heart
Could I my prospects and my griefs impart;,
She would console me; but I dare not show,
Ills that would wound her tender soul to know:
And I confess, it shocks my pride to tell
The secrets of the prison where I dwell;
For that dear maiden would be shock'd to feel
The secrets I should shudder to reveal;
When told her friend was by a parent ask'd,
'Fed you the swine?'--Good heaven! how I am task'd!
What! can you smile? Ah! smile not at the grief
That woos your pity and demands relief.'
'Trifles, my love: you take a false alarm;
Think, I beseech you, better of the Farm:
Duties in every state demand your care,
And light are those that will require it there.
Fix on the Youth a favouring eye, and these,
To him pertaining, or as his, will please.'
'What words,' the Lass replied, 'offend my ear!
Try you my patience? Can you be sincere?
And am I told a willing hand to give
To a rude farmer, and with rustics live?
Far other fate was yours;--some gentle youth
Admir'd your beauty, and avow'd his truth;
The power of love prevail'd, and freely both
Gave the fond heart, and pledged the binding oath;
And then the rival's plot, the parent's power,
And jealous fears, drew on the happy hour:
Ah! let not memory lose the blissful view,
But fairly show what love has done for you.'
'Agreed, my daughter; what my heart has known
Of Love's strange power, shall be with frankness
But let me warn you, that experience finds
Few of the scenes that lively hope designs.'
'Mysterious all,' said Nancy; 'you, I know,
Have suffered much; now deign the grief to show, -
I am your friend, and so prepare my heart
In all your sorrows to receive a part.'
The Widow answer'd: 'I had once, like you,
Such thoughts of love; no dream is more untrue;
You judge it fated, and decreed to dwell
In youthful hearts, which nothing can expel,
A passion doom'd to reign, and irresistible.
The struggling mind, when once subdued, in vain
Rejects the fury or defies the pain;
The strongest reason fails the flames t'allay,
And resolution droops and faints away:
Hence, when the destined lovers meet, they prove
At once the force of this all-powerful love;
Each from that period feels the mutual smart,
Nor seeks to cure it--heart is changed for heart;
Nor is there peace till they delighted stand,
And, at the altar--hand is join'd to hand.
'Alas! my child, there are who, dreaming so,
Waste their fresh youth, and waking feel the woe.
There is no spirit sent the heart to move
With such prevailing and alarming love;
Passion to reason will submit--or why
Should wealthy maids the poorest swains deny?
Or how could classes and degrees create
The slightest bar to such resistless fate?
Yet high and low, you see, forbear to mix;
No beggars' eyes the heart of kings transfix;
And who but am'rous peers or nobles sigh,
When titled beauties pass triumphant by?
For reason wakes, proud wishes to reprove;
You cannot hope, and therefore dare not love;
All would be safe, did we at first inquire -
'Does reason sanction what our hearts desire?'
But quitting precept, let example show
What joys from Love uncheck'd by prudence flow.
'A Youth my father in his office placed,
Of humble fortune, but with sense and taste;
But he was thin and pale, had downcast looks:
He studied much, and pored upon his books:
Confused he was when seen, and when he saw
Me or my sisters, would in haste withdraw;
And had this youth departed with the year,
His loss had cost us neither sigh nor tear.
'But with my father still the youth remain'd,
And more reward and kinder notice gain'd:
He often, reading, to the garden stray'd,
Where I by books or musing was delay'd;
This to discourse in summer evenings led,
Of these same evenings, or of what we read:
On such occasions we were much alone;
But, save the look, the manner, and the tone,
(These might have meaning,) all that we discuss'd
We could with pleasure to a parent trust.
'At length 'twas friendship--and my Friend and I
Said we were happy, and began to sigh;
My sisters first, and then my father, found
That we were wandering o'er enchanted ground:
But he had troubles in his own aifairs,
And would not bear addition to his cares:
With pity moved, yet angry, 'Child,' said he,
'Will you embrace contempt and beggary?'
Can you endure to see each other cursed
By want, of every human woe the worst?
Warring for ever with distress, in dread
Either of begging or of wanting bread;
While poverty, with unrelenting force,
Will your own offspring from your love divorce;
They, through your folly, must be doom'd to pine,
And you deplore your passion, or resign;
For if it die, what good will then remain?
And if it live, it doubles every pain.''
'But you were true,' exclaim'd the Lass,' and
The tyrant's power who fill'd your soul with
'But,' said the smiling Friend, 'he fill'd my mouth
And in what other place that bread to gain
We long consider'd, and we sought in vain:
This was my twentieth year,--at thirty-five
Our hope was fainter, yet our love alive;
So many years in anxious doubt had pass'd.'
'Then,' said the Damsel, 'you were bless'd at
A smile again adorn'd the Widow's face,
But soon a starting tear usurp'd its place.
'Slow pass'd the heavy years, and each had more
Pains and vexations than the years before.
My father fail'd; his family was rent,
And to new states his grieving daughters sent:
Each to more thriving kindred found a way,
Guests without welcome,--servants without pay;
Our parting hour was grievous; still I feel
The sad, sweet converse at our final meal;
Our father then reveal'd his former fears,
Cause of his sternness, and then join'd our tears:
Kindly he strove our feelings to repress,
But died, and left us heirs to his distress.
The rich, as humble friends, my sisters chose;
I with a wealthy widow sought repose;
Who with a chilling frown her friend received,
Bade me rejoice, and wonder'd that I grieved:
In vain my anxious lover tried his skill,
To rise in life, he was dependent still:
We met in grief, nor can I paint the fears
Of these unhappy, troubled, trying years:
Our dying hopes and stronger fears between,
We felt no season peaceful or serene;
Our fleeting joys, like meteors in the night,
Shone on our gloom with inauspicious light;
And then domestic sorrows, till the mind,
Worn with distresses, to despair inclined;
Add too the ill that from the passion flows,
When its contemptuous frown the world bestows,
The peevish spirit caused by long delay,
When, being gloomy, we contemn the gay,
When, being wretched, we incline to hate
And censure others in a happier state;
Yet loving still, and still compell'd to move
In the sad labyrinth of lingering love:
While you, exempt from want, despair, alarm,
May wed--oh! take the Farmer and the Farm.'
'Nay,' said the nymph, 'joy smiled on you at
'Smiled for a moment,' she replied, 'and pass'd:
My lover still the same dull means pursued,
Assistant call'd, but kept in servitude;
His spirits wearied in the prime of life,
By fears and wishes in eternal strife;
At length he urged impatient--'Now consent;
With thee united, Fortune may relent.'
I paused, consenting; but a Friend arose,
Pleased a fair view, though distant, to disclose;
From the rough ocean we beheld a gleam
Of joy, as transient as the joys we dream;
By lying hopes deceived, my friend retired,
And sail'd--was wounded--reach'd us--and expired!
You shall behold his grave; and when I die,
There--but 'tis folly--I request to lie.'
'Thus,' said the lass, 'to joy you bade adieu!
But how a widow?--that cannot be true:
Or was it force, in some unhappy hour,
That placed you, grieving, in a tyrant's power?'
'Force, my young friend, when forty years are
Is what a woman seldom has to dread;
She needs no brazen locks nor guarding walls,
And seldom comes a lover though she calls:
Yet, moved by fancy, one approved my face,
Though time and tears had wrought it much disgrace.
'The man I married was sedate and meek,
And spoke of love as men in earnest speak;
Poor as I was, he ceaseless sought for years,
A heart in sorrow and a face in tears:
That heart I gave not; and 'twas long before
I gave attention, and then nothing more:
But in my breast some grateful feeling rose,
For one whose love so sad a subject chose;
Till long delaying, fearing to repent,
But grateful still, I gave a cold assent.
Thus we were wed; no fault had I to find,
And he but one: my heart could not be kind:
Alas! of every early hope bereft,
There was no fondness in my bosom left;
So had I told him, but had told in vain,
He lived but to indulge me and complain:
His was this cottage; he inclosed this ground.
And planted all these blooming shrubs around;
He to my room these curious trifles brought,
And with assiduous love my pleasure sought;
He lived to please me, and I ofttimes strove,
Smiling, to thank his unrequited love:
'Teach me,' he cried, 'that pensive mind to ease,
For all my pleasure is the hope to please.'
Serene though heavy, were the days we spent,
Yet kind each word, and gen'rous each intent;
But his dejection lessen'd every day,
And to a placid kindness died away:
In tranquil ease we pass'd our latter years,
By griefs untroubled, unassail'd by fears.
Let not romantic views your bosom sway;
Yield to your duties, and their call obey:
Fly not a Youth, frank, honest, and sincere;
Observe his merits, and his passion hear!
'Tis true, no hero, but a farmer, sues -
Slow in his speech, but worthy in his views;
With him you cannot that affliction prove,
That rends the bosom of the poor in love:
Health, comfort, competence, and cheerful days,
Your friends' approval, and your father's praise,
Will crown the deed, and you escape their fate
Who plan so wildly, and are wise too late.'
The Damsel heard; at first th' advice was
Yet wrought a happy, nay, a speedy change:
'I have no care,' she said, when next they met,
But one may wonder, he is silent yet;
He looks around him with his usual stare,
And utters nothing--not that I shall care.'
This pettish humour pleased th' experienced
None need despair, whose silence can offend;
'Should I,' resumed the thoughtful Lass, 'consent
To hear the man, the man may now repent:
Think you my sighs shall call him from the plough,
Or give one hint, that 'You may woo me now?''
'Persist, my love,' replied the Friend, 'and
A parent's praise, that cannot be in vain.'
The father saw the change, but not the cause,
And gave the alter'd maid his fond applause:
The coarser manners she in part removed,
In part endured, improving and improved;
She spoke of household works, she rose betimes,
And said neglect and indolence were crimes;
The various duties of their life she weigh'd,
And strict attention to her dairy paid;
The names of servants now familiar grew,
And fair Lucinda's from her mind withdrew;
As prudent travellers for their ease assume
Their modes and language to whose lands they come;
So to the Farmer this fair Lass inclined,
Gave to the business of the Farm her mind;
To useful arts she turned her hand and eye;
And by her manners told him--'You may try.'
Th' observing Lover more attention paid,
With growing pleasure, to the alter'd maid;
He fear'd to lose her, and began to see
That a slim beauty might a helpmate be:
'Twixt hope and fear he now the lass address'd,
And in his Sunday robe his love express'd:
She felt no chilling dread, no thrilling joy,
Nor was too quickly kind, too slowly coy;
But still she lent an unreluctant ear
To all the rural business of the year;
Till love's strong hopes endured no more delay,
And Harry ask'd, and Nancy named the day.
'A happy change! my Boy,' the father cried:
'How lost your sister all her school-day pride?'
The Youth replied, 'It is the Widow's deed;
The cure is perfect and was wrought with speed.
And comes there, Boy, this benefit of books,
Of that smart dress, and of those dainty looks?
We must be kind--some offerings from the Farm
To the White Cot will speak our feelings warm;
Will show that people, when they know the fact,
Where they have judged severely, can retract.
Oft have I smiled, when I beheld her pass
With cautious step as if she hurt the grass;
Where, if a snail's retreat she chanced to storm,
She look'd as begging pardon of the worm;
And what, said I, still laughing at the view,
Have these weak creatures in the world to do?
But some are made for action, some to speak;
And, while she looks so pitiful and meek,
Her words are weighty, though her nerves are weak.'
Soon told the village-bells the rite was done,
That joined the school-bred Miss and Farmer's Son;
Her former habits some slight scandal raised,
But real worth was soon perceived and praised;
She, her neat taste imparted to the Farm,
And he, th' improving skill and vigorous arm.
The Odyssey: Book 13
Thus did he speak, and they all held their peace throughout the
covered cloister, enthralled by the charm of his story, till presently
Alcinous began to speak.
"Ulysses," said he, "now that you have reached my house I doubt
not you will get home without further misadventure no matter how
much you have suffered in the past. To you others, however, who come
here night after night to drink my choicest wine and listen to my
bard, I would insist as follows. Our guest has already packed up the
clothes, wrought gold, and other valuables which you have brought
for his acceptance; let us now, therefore, present him further, each
one of us, with a large tripod and a cauldron. We will recoup
ourselves by the levy of a general rate; for private individuals
cannot be expected to bear the burden of such a handsome present."
Every one approved of this, and then they went home to bed each in
his own abode. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn,
appeared, they hurried down to the ship and brought their cauldrons
with them. Alcinous went on board and saw everything so securely
stowed under the ship's benches that nothing could break adrift and
injure the rowers. Then they went to the house of Alcinous to get
dinner, and he sacrificed a bull for them in honour of Jove who is the
lord of all. They set the steaks to grill and made an excellent
dinner, after which the inspired bard, Demodocus, who was a
favourite with every one, sang to them; but Ulysses kept on turning
his eyes towards the sun, as though to hasten his setting, for he
was longing to be on his way. As one who has been all day ploughing
a fallow field with a couple of oxen keeps thinking about his supper
and is glad when night comes that he may go and get it, for it is
all his legs can do to carry him, even so did Ulysses rejoice when the
sun went down, and he at once said to the Phaecians, addressing
himself more particularly to King Alcinous:
"Sir, and all of you, farewell. Make your drink-offerings and send
me on my way rejoicing, for you have fulfilled my heart's desire by
giving me an escort, and making me presents, which heaven grant that I
may turn to good account; may I find my admirable wife living in peace
among friends, and may you whom I leave behind me give satisfaction to
your wives and children; may heaven vouchsafe you every good grace,
and may no evil thing come among your people."
Thus did he speak. His hearers all of them approved his saying and
agreed that he should have his escort inasmuch as he had spoken
reasonably. Alcinous therefore said to his servant, "Pontonous, mix
some wine and hand it round to everybody, that we may offer a prayer
to father Jove, and speed our guest upon his way."
Pontonous mixed the wine and handed it to every one in turn; the
others each from his own seat made a drink-offering to the blessed
gods that live in heaven, but Ulysses rose and placed the double cup
in the hands of queen Arete.
"Farewell, queen," said he, "henceforward and for ever, till age and
death, the common lot of mankind, lay their hands upon you. I now take
my leave; be happy in this house with your children, your people,
and with king Alcinous."
As he spoke he crossed the threshold, and Alcinous sent a man to
conduct him to his ship and to the sea shore. Arete also sent some
maid servants with him- one with a clean shirt and cloak, another to
carry his strong-box, and a third with corn and wine. When they got to
the water side the crew took these things and put them on board,
with all the meat and drink; but for Ulysses they spread a rug and a
linen sheet on deck that he might sleep soundly in the stern of the
ship. Then he too went on board and lay down without a word, but the
crew took every man his place and loosed the hawser from the pierced
stone to which it had been bound. Thereon, when they began rowing
out to sea, Ulysses fell into a deep, sweet, and almost deathlike
The ship bounded forward on her way as a four in hand chariot
flies over the course when the horses feel the whip. Her prow curveted
as it were the neck of a stallion, and a great wave of dark blue water
seethed in her wake. She held steadily on her course, and even a
falcon, swiftest of all birds, could not have kept pace with her.
Thus, then, she cut her way through the water. carrying one who was as
cunning as the gods, but who was now sleeping peacefully, forgetful of
all that he had suffered both on the field of battle and by the
waves of the weary sea.
When the bright star that heralds the approach of dawn began to
show. the ship drew near to land. Now there is in Ithaca a haven of
the old merman Phorcys, which lies between two points that break the
line of the sea and shut the harbour in. These shelter it from the
storms of wind and sea that rage outside, so that, when once within
it, a ship may lie without being even moored. At the head of this
harbour there is a large olive tree, and at no distance a fine
overarching cavern sacred to the nymphs who are called Naiads. There
are mixing-bowls within it and wine-jars of stone, and the bees hive
there. Moreover, there are great looms of stone on which the nymphs
weave their robes of sea purple- very curious to see- and at all times
there is water within it. It has two entrances, one facing North by
which mortals can go down into the cave, while the other comes from
the South and is more mysterious; mortals cannot possibly get in by
it, it is the way taken by the gods.
Into this harbour, then, they took their ship, for they knew the
place, She had so much way upon her that she ran half her own length
on to the shore; when, however, they had landed, the first thing
they did was to lift Ulysses with his rug and linen sheet out of the
ship, and lay him down upon the sand still fast asleep. Then they took
out the presents which Minerva had persuaded the Phaeacians to give
him when he was setting out on his voyage homewards. They put these
all together by the root of the olive tree, away from the road, for
fear some passer by might come and steal them before Ulysses awoke;
and then they made the best of their way home again.
But Neptune did not forget the threats with which he had already
threatened Ulysses, so he took counsel with Jove. "Father Jove,"
said he, "I shall no longer be held in any sort of respect among you
gods, if mortals like the Phaeacians, who are my own flesh and
blood, show such small regard for me. I said I would Ulysses get
home when he had suffered sufficiently. I did not say that he should
never get home at all, for I knew you had already nodded your head
about it, and promised that he should do so; but now they have brought
him in a ship fast asleep and have landed him in Ithaca after
loading him with more magnificent presents of bronze, gold, and
raiment than he would ever have brought back from Troy, if he had
had his share of the spoil and got home without misadventure."
And Jove answered, "What, O Lord of the Earthquake, are you
talking about? The gods are by no means wanting in respect for you. It
would be monstrous were they to insult one so old and honoured as
you are. As regards mortals, however, if any of them is indulging in
insolence and treating you disrespectfully, it will always rest with
yourself to deal with him as you may think proper, so do just as you
"I should have done so at once," replied Neptune, "if I were not
anxious to avoid anything that might displease you; now, therefore,
I should like to wreck the Phaecian ship as it is returning from its
escort. This will stop them from escorting people in future; and I
should also like to bury their city under a huge mountain."
"My good friend," answered Jove, "I should recommend you at the very
moment when the people from the city are watching the ship on her way,
to turn it into a rock near the land and looking like a ship. This
will astonish everybody, and you can then bury their city under the
When earth-encircling Neptune heard this he went to Scheria where
the Phaecians live, and stayed there till the ship, which was making
rapid way, had got close-in. Then he went up to it, turned it into
stone, and drove it down with the flat of his hand so as to root it in
the ground. After this he went away.
The Phaeacians then began talking among themselves, and one would
turn towards his neighbour, saying, "Bless my heart, who is it that
can have rooted the ship in the sea just as she was getting into port?
We could see the whole of her only moment ago."
This was how they talked, but they knew nothing about it; and
Alcinous said, "I remember now the old prophecy of my father. He
said that Neptune would be angry with us for taking every one so
safely over the sea, and would one day wreck a Phaeacian ship as it
was returning from an escort, and bury our city under a high mountain.
This was what my old father used to say, and now it is all coming
true. Now therefore let us all do as I say; in the first place we must
leave off giving people escorts when they come here, and in the next
let us sacrifice twelve picked bulls to Neptune that he may have mercy
upon us, and not bury our city under the high mountain." When the
people heard this they were afraid and got ready the bulls.
Thus did the chiefs and rulers of the Phaecians to king Neptune,
standing round his altar; and at the same time Ulysses woke up once
more upon his own soil. He had been so long away that he did not
know it again; moreover, Jove's daughter Minerva had made it a foggy
day, so that people might not know of his having come, and that she
might tell him everything without either his wife or his fellow
citizens and friends recognizing him until he had taken his revenge
upon the wicked suitors. Everything, therefore, seemed quite different
to him- the long straight tracks, the harbours, the precipices, and
the goodly trees, appeared all changed as he started up and looked
upon his native land. So he smote his thighs with the flat of his
hands and cried aloud despairingly.
"Alas," he exclaimed, "among what manner of people am I fallen?
Are they savage and uncivilized or hospitable and humane? Where
shall I put all this treasure, and which way shall I go? I wish I
had stayed over there with the Phaeacians; or I could have gone to
some other great chief who would have been good to me and given me
an escort. As it is I do not know where to put my treasure, and I
cannot leave it here for fear somebody else should get hold of it.
In good truth the chiefs and rulers of the Phaeacians have not been
dealing fairly by me, and have left me in the wrong country; they said
they would take me back to Ithaca and they have not done so: may
Jove the protector of suppliants chastise them, for he watches over
everybody and punishes those who do wrong. Still, I suppose I must
count my goods and see if the crew have gone off with any of them."
He counted his goodly coppers and cauldrons, his gold and all his
clothes, but there was nothing missing; still he kept grieving about
not being in his own country, and wandered up and down by the shore of
the sounding sea bewailing his hard fate. Then Minerva came up to
him disguised as a young shepherd of delicate and princely mien,
with a good cloak folded double about her shoulders; she had sandals
on her comely feet and held a javelin in her hand. Ulysses was glad
when he saw her, and went straight up to her.
"My friend," said he, "you are the first person whom I have met with
in this country; I salute you, therefore, and beg you to be will
disposed towards me. Protect these my goods, and myself too, for I
embrace your knees and pray to you as though you were a god. Tell
me, then, and tell me truly, what land and country is this? Who are
its inhabitants? Am I on an island, or is this the sea board of some
Minerva answered, "Stranger, you must be very simple, or must have
come from somewhere a long way off, not to know what country this
is. It is a very celebrated place, and everybody knows it East and
West. It is rugged and not a good driving country, but it is by no
means a bid island for what there is of it. It grows any quantity of
corn and also wine, for it is watered both by rain and dew; it
breeds cattle also and goats; all kinds of timber grow here, and there
are watering places where the water never runs dry; so, sir, the
name of Ithaca is known even as far as Troy, which I understand to
be a long way off from this Achaean country."
Ulysses was glad at finding himself, as Minerva told him, in his own
country, and he began to answer, but he did not speak the truth, and
made up a lying story in the instinctive wiliness of his heart.
"I heard of Ithaca," said he, "when I was in Crete beyond the
seas, and now it seems I have reached it with all these treasures. I
have left as much more behind me for my children, but am flying
because I killed Orsilochus son of Idomeneus, the fleetest runner in
Crete. I killed him because he wanted to rob me of the spoils I had
got from Troy with so much trouble and danger both on the field of
battle and by the waves of the weary sea; he said I had not served his
father loyally at Troy as vassal, but had set myself up as an
independent ruler, so I lay in wait for him and with one of my
followers by the road side, and speared him as he was coming into town
from the country. my It was a very dark night and nobody saw us; it
was not known, therefore, that I had killed him, but as soon as I
had done so I went to a ship and besought the owners, who were
Phoenicians, to take me on board and set me in Pylos or in Elis
where the Epeans rule, giving them as much spoil as satisfied them.
They meant no guile, but the wind drove them off their course, and
we sailed on till we came hither by night. It was all we could do to
get inside the harbour, and none of us said a word about supper though
we wanted it badly, but we all went on shore and lay down just as we
were. I was very tired and fell asleep directly, so they took my goods
out of the ship, and placed them beside me where I was lying upon
the sand. Then they sailed away to Sidonia, and I was left here in
great distress of mind."
Such was his story, but Minerva smiled and caressed him with her
hand. Then she took the form of a woman, fair, stately, and wise,
"He must be indeed a shifty lying fellow," said she, "who could
surpass you in all manner of craft even though you had a god for
your antagonist. Dare-devil that you are, full of guile, unwearying in
deceit, can you not drop your tricks and your instinctive falsehood,
even now that you are in your own country again? We will say no
more, however, about this, for we can both of us deceive upon
occasion- you are the most accomplished counsellor and orator among
all mankind, while I for diplomacy and subtlety have no equal among
the gods. Did you not know Jove's daughter Minerva- me, who have
been ever with you, who kept watch over you in all your troubles,
and who made the Phaeacians take so great a liking to you? And now,
again, I am come here to talk things over with you, and help you to
hide the treasure I made the Phaeacians give you; I want to tell you
about the troubles that await you in your own house; you have got to
face them, but tell no one, neither man nor woman, that you have
come home again. Bear everything, and put up with every man's
insolence, without a word."
And Ulysses answered, "A man, goddess, may know a great deal, but
you are so constantly changing your appearance that when he meets
you it is a hard matter for him to know whether it is you or not. This
much, however, I know exceedingly well; you were very kind to me as
long as we Achaeans were fighting before Troy, but from the day on
which we went on board ship after having sacked the city of Priam, and
heaven dispersed us- from that day, Minerva, I saw no more of you, and
cannot ever remember your coming to my ship to help me in a
difficulty; I had to wander on sick and sorry till the gods
delivered me from evil and I reached the city of the Phaeacians, where
you encouraged me and took me into the town. And now, I beseech you in
your father's name, tell me the truth, for I do not believe I am
really back in Ithaca. I am in some other country and you are
mocking me and deceiving me in all you have been saying. Tell me
then truly, have I really got back to my own country?"
"You are always taking something of that sort into your head,"
replied Minerva, "and that is why I cannot desert you in your
afflictions; you are so plausible, shrewd and shifty. Any one but
yourself on returning from so long a voyage would at once have gone
home to see his wife and children, but you do not seem to care about
asking after them or hearing any news about them till you have
exploited your wife, who remains at home vainly grieving for you,
and having no peace night or day for the tears she sheds on your
behalf. As for my not coming near you, I was never uneasy about you,
for I was certain you would get back safely though you would lose
all your men, and I did not wish to quarrel with my uncle Neptune, who
never forgave you for having blinded his son. I will now, however,
point out to you the lie of the land, and you will then perhaps
believe me. This is the haven of the old merman Phorcys, and here is
the olive tree that grows at the head of it; [near it is the cave
sacred to the Naiads;] here too is the overarching cavern in which you
have offered many an acceptable hecatomb to the nymphs, and this is
the wooded mountain Neritum."
As she spoke the goddess dispersed the mist and the land appeared.
Then Ulysses rejoiced at finding himself again in his own land, and
kissed the bounteous soil; he lifted up his hands and prayed to the
nymphs, saying, "Naiad nymphs, daughters of Jove, I made sure that I
was never again to see you, now therefore I greet you with all
loving salutations, and I will bring you offerings as in the old days,
if Jove's redoubtable daughter will grant me life, and bring my son to
"Take heart, and do not trouble yourself about that," rejoined
Minerva, "let us rather set about stowing your things at once in the
cave, where they will be quite safe. Let us see how we can best manage
Therewith she went down into the cave to look for the safest
hiding places, while Ulysses brought up all the treasure of gold,
bronze, and good clothing which the Phaecians had given him. They
stowed everything carefully away, and Minerva set a stone against
the door of the cave. Then the two sat down by the root of the great
olive, and consulted how to compass the destruction of the wicked
"Ulysses," said Minerva, "noble son of Laertes, think how you can
lay hands on these disreputable people who have been lording it in
your house these three years, courting your wife and making wedding
presents to her, while she does nothing but lament your absence,
giving hope and sending your encouraging messages to every one of
them, but meaning the very opposite of all she says'
And Ulysses answered, "In good truth, goddess, it seems I should
have come to much the same bad end in my own house as Agamemnon did,
if you had not given me such timely information. Advise me how I shall
best avenge myself. Stand by my side and put your courage into my
heart as on the day when we loosed Troy's fair diadem from her brow.
Help me now as you did then, and I will fight three hundred men, if
you, goddess, will be with me."
"Trust me for that," said she, "I will not lose sight of you when
once we set about it, and I would imagine that some of those who are
devouring your substance will then bespatter the pavement with their
blood and brains. I will begin by disguising you so that no human
being shall know you; I will cover your body with wrinkles; you
shall lose all your yellow hair; I will clothe you in a garment that
shall fill all who see it with loathing; I will blear your fine eyes
for you, and make you an unseemly object in the sight of the
suitors, of your wife, and of the son whom you left behind you. Then
go at once to the swineherd who is in charge of your pigs; he has been
always well affected towards you, and is devoted to Penelope and
your son; you will find him feeding his pigs near the rock that is
called Raven by the fountain Arethusa, where they are fattening on
beechmast and spring water after their manner. Stay with him and
find out how things are going, while I proceed to Sparta and see
your son, who is with Menelaus at Lacedaemon, where he has gone to try
and find out whether you are still alive."
"But why," said Ulysses, "did you not tell him, for you knew all
about it? Did you want him too to go sailing about amid all kinds of
hardship while others are eating up his estate?"
Minerva answered, "Never mind about him, I sent him that he might be
well spoken of for having gone. He is in no sort of difficulty, but is
staying quite comfortably with Menelaus, and is surrounded with
abundance of every kind. The suitors have put out to sea and are lying
in wait for him, for they mean to kill him before he can get home. I
do not much think they will succeed, but rather that some of those who
are now eating up your estate will first find a grave themselves."
As she spoke Minerva touched him with her wand and covered him
with wrinkles, took away all his yellow hair, and withered the flesh
over his whole body; she bleared his eyes, which were naturally very
fine ones; she changed his clothes and threw an old rag of a wrap
about him, and a tunic, tattered, filthy, and begrimed with smoke; she
also gave him an undressed deer skin as an outer garment, and
furnished him with a staff and a wallet all in holes, with a twisted
thong for him to sling it over his shoulder.
When the pair had thus laid their plans they parted, and the goddess
went straight to Lacedaemon to fetch Telemachus.